Childhood ADHD tied to obesity decades later

Contrary to the study team’s hypothesis, they found that men who no longer had their childhood ADHD symptoms were especially likely to be obese - not those who still had persistent attention and hyperactivity problems.

Pagoto agreed that finding was unexpected and said the study may simply have been too small to tease out reliable differences among adults with a history of ADHD.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents report that close to one in ten kids and teenagers has been diagnosed with ADHD. Boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls.

What are the symptoms of ADHD in children?

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

  Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  Have difficulty focusing on one thing
  Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
  Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
  Not seem to listen when spoken to
  Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
  Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  Struggle to follow instructions.

Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:

  Fidget and squirm in their seats
  Talk nonstop
  Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
  Be constantly in motion
  Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

  Be very impatient
  Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities.

Castellanos recommended parents of children with ADHD make sure their kids are getting enough exercise and help them cut back on sugary drinks and other high-calorie food choices.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, online May 20, 2013

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