-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Children with symptoms of
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased
risk for obesity in adulthood, a new study claims.
Having three or more of any of the symptoms of ADHD -- such as
inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity -- significantly
increases the chances of being obese, according to researchers from
Duke University Medical Center, who examined federal data on 15,197
adolescents followed from 1995 to 2009.
"It's not just the diagnosis of ADHD that matters; it's the symptoms," study co-author Scott Kollins, director of the Duke ADHD Program, said in a Duke news release.
Another study author agreed, adding that the more symptoms, the
higher the risk.
"It's a dose effect. We showed that as the number of symptoms increase, the prevalence of obesity also increases," said study co-author Bernard Fuemmeler, director of the Pediatric Psychology & Family Health Promotion Lab in the Department of Community and Family Medicine.
Even among children with only symptoms of hyperactivity or
impulsiveness -- the most influential of the risk factors studied
-- the risk of obesity rose to 63 percent. These symptoms were also
associated with greater weight gain in the transition from
adolescence to adulthood.
The data on the teens came from the U.S. National Longitudinal
Study of Adolescent Health.
"The findings support the idea that certain self-regulation capacities, like the ability to regulate one's impulses, could be a relevant trait to understanding why some people may be more vulnerable to obesity," Fuemmeler said, adding that this might help with the design of interventions.
The study appears online in the
International Journal of Obesity.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
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