Childhood ADHD in females ups the risk of obesity by two times: Study

Childhood ADHD in females ups the risk of obesity by two times: Study

A recent study related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) shows that the disease is biased toward females. The new study by Mayo Clinic says that childhood ADHD increases the risk of adult obesity in females by two times, but this is not the case in males.

“Females with ADHD are at risk of developing obesity during adulthood, and stimulant medications used to treat ADHD do not appear to alter that risk,” said Dr. Seema Kumar, a pediatrician and one of the researchers at the Mayo Clinic, in a press release.

In spite of being put on medication, female children with ADHD had two times higher chance of being obese as adults compared to those not diagnosed with ADHD, the study said. The same did not hold true for boys. Dr. Kumar said that when diagnosed with ADHD, girls should be counseled to take up things that would check obesity, such as adhering to healthy food regime and active lifestyle.

Dr. Kumar said that certain biological mechanisms link obesity and ADHD. As children with ADHD don’t have impulse control, girls with ADHD may indulge in binge eating as they cannot control it. While in case of boys, when diagnosed with ADHD they are hyperactive and burn more calories as they tend to act out, but girls show an inclination toward eating.

A long-term study by the researchers analyzed the weight of about 1,000 girls and boys who had been diagnosed with ADHD as children and who underwent treatment from 1976 to 2010. Dr. Kumar says that awareness regarding this problem should be created so that caregivers and doctors can provide the necessary help to female patients with ADHD in order to check obesity risks.

ADHD most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in kids

A previous study at Imperial College London in 2014 suggested a link between ADHD and obesity, but it was not clear whether one leads to the other. The study followed almost 7,000 children in Finland and found that those with ADHD symptoms at age eight showed higher probability of being obese at age 16 and such children who were also less physically active as teens.

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children when they may be hyperactive and not able to control their impulses or pay attention, which lead to problems in school and home.

According to, some of the factors that may cause ADHD are heredity, chemical imbalance, poor nutrition, infections, smoking, drinking, or substance abuse during pregnancy, toxins such as lead and a brain injury. According to data from the 2003-2011 National Survey of Children’s Health (NCHS), 3.5 million children, or 69 percent, with current ADHD were on medication for the problem.

A report on in 2013 said that about 6.4 million children had received an ADHD diagnosis at some point, which is a 16 percent increase since 2007 and 53 percent rise in the past decade. The data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said that one in five high schoolboys and 11 percent of all schoolchildren in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD.

It has been found that any problem with women can pose drastic consequences to their child. A research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has revealed that expectant mothers who are obese and suffer from diabetes increase the chance of autism in their children by four times compared to healthy weight women. As per a Reuters report, the risk increases by five times if the mother had diabetes before conception.

Mental health issues can ruin one’s life. But one should not ignore the symptoms. Medication and support can go a long way in making things easy. If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental health issue, the California Mental Health Helpline can help you with information. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 to seek the best guidance.