ADHD and Weight in Children…and other facts about ADHD in kids
Given the “war on obesity” and the increasing number of children being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the results of a recent study is a real double whammy. According the July issue of Pediatrics, children with ADHD have a 50% higher risk of being medically overweight if they are not taking medication for their condition. Interestingly, those who were taking their medication were much more likely to be underweight.
- Who was studied? 63,000 children and teens between the ages of 5 and 17 years old. The data came from the 2003-2004 U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health.
- Where were they studied? Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island.
- By Whom? Molly E. Waring and Kate L. Lapane, researchers from the department of community health.
- Interesting Fact: 1 in 5 children with ADHD are said to be clinically overweight.
- Why we need to be careful: On the one side, we need to make sure that one problem does not beget another, such that a problem with focus also connects to a problem with health, but on the other hand, we need to make sure that we don’t make our children “scale” obsessed and give them body image issues on top of everything else! We know from other studies that girls who weigh themselves often are more likely than other girls to engage in unhealthy dieting and go up and down in weight. The girls who are most scale-obsessed, according to a 2006 study out of the University of Minnesota, tend to skip meals, use diet pills, abuse laxatives, smoke, binge, and vomit to lose weight. Help your children stay healthy, but don’t allow them to get crazy about weight.
Arguments against these findings:
(1) Some researchers believe that because the diagnosis of obesity in children and the diagnosis for ADHD are widespread, you can’t say that the overlap is due to a cause-and-effect connection rather than just coincidence.
(2) Some researchers agree that there is a connection and this is nothing new.
(3) Some researchers believe that there is a connection but we don’t know about any cause-and-effect link. In other words, we can’t say that ADHD CAUSES obesity and overweight nor can we say that obesity and overweight CAUSES ADHD.
Facts about ADHD
- It’s estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD. In the United States, that equals approximately 2 million children.
- The top characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
- Symptoms: Fidgeting, squirming, trouble listening, difficulty playing quietly, said to talk a lot and often, often interrupt or intrude impulsively, easily distracted, lack focus, difficulty finishing tasks.
- Symptoms appear early in the child’s life—but since ALL young children tend to fidget and become impulsive to a degree, it’s important to see a physician for confirmation of diagnosis.
- Disorders that can sometimes go along with ADHD: Learning disabilities, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, Conduct Disorder, Bipolar Disorder.
Some Possible Treatment Options for ADHD:
(2) Behavioral Modification
(3) A combination of both Medication and Behavior Modification
(5) Social Skills Training
(6) ADHD coach for child
(8 ) EEG Biofeedback
(9) ADHD Diet
(10) Alternative Medicine
Have a child or know a child with ADHD? What are your thoughts on the July Pediatrics study? Do you find any challenges with ADHD and the weight of your child? What has worked for you?
Looking forward to hearing from you-
Cartoon above found here
Filed under: Body Image, children, Dr. Robyn Silverman, Family, Health, Interesting Press, Research | Tagged: ADHD, character queen, children, Dr. Robyn Silverman, focus, impulse control, Obesity, overweight, parents, Pediatrics, powerful words, Weight |