ADHD and obesity risk

Both conditions reflect impulsive behavior, poor planning and overlapping centers of the brain

ADHD and Obesity Risk

ADHD and Obesity Risk

Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to be obese or weigh more than their non-diagnosed counterparts later in life.

Makes perfect sense when you consider that both conditions reflect impulsive behavior, poor planning, and overlapping centers of the brain—these are the findings from a new study in the May 20 online Pediatrics.

Researchers looked at two groups of men, aged 41. Those with an ADHD diagnosis during their youth were decades later 19 pounds heavier, a finding similar to earlier studies.

“As we learn more about the regions of the brain that may be implicated in obesity, they overlap with brain regions implicated in ADHD,” Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos from the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York told Reuters Health. “The reward system seems to be relevant to both conditions.

“There is the speculation that the obesity is at least partly reflecting some of the impulsivity, poor planning and the difficulty in making choices” faced by ADHD youth.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly one in ten kids and teenagers is diagnosed with ADHD. For such children, teaching them about nutrition and portion control, and helping them to avoid soda, fast foods, preservatives, and colorants is critical to their immediate health and future physiological as well as emotional well-being, the doctor says. Indeed, research shows that eliminating specific food dyes improves behavior in ADHD children, as well as improves their diet, one hopes, enough to avoid weight gain later in life.

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