NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased risk for being overweight, regardless of whether or not they are currently receiving medications for the condition.
The results of prior research has suggested that the impulsivity and poor behavioral regulation that is common in children with ADHD may promote certain eating patterns that increase the risk of obesity, co-authors Molly E. Waring and Dr. Kate L. Lapane, from Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, note.
To investigate further, the researchers analyzed data from 62,887 children and adolescents included in the 2003-2004 National Survey of Children’s Health.
Children with ADHD were identified based the response of the parent to the question: “Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that your child has attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, that is, ADD or ADHD?”
The prevalence of ADD or ADHD was 8.8 percent, the authors report in the journal Pediatrics, and approximately half the affected children were taking medication for the condition.
After accounting for demographic factors as well as depression and anxiety, ADHD patients who were not being treated with medication were 1.5-times more likely to be overweight than children without the disorder. The risk for ADHD among those who were currently receiving medications was only about 0.5-times higher than children without ADHD.
“Future work is needed to better understand the longitudinal and pharmacologic factors that influence the relationship between ADD/ADHD and weight status in children and adolescents,” the investigators conclude.
SOURCE: Pediatrics, July 2008.