A new study has established a startling link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity.
It may not be the most obvious connection, but a recent study has linked attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, to a massive increase in the risk of obesity. And according to a report from UPI, the study has a strange caveat – the risk is only present for females, and not males.
Why are females with ADHD more than twice as likely to become obese than their male counterparts? The study showed that regardless of the types of medicine taken for ADHD, the risk for obesity in girls who were diagnosed with ADHD as children was present even after researchers controlled for a number of different factors.
The study adds onto a growing body of research suggesting that ADHD affects boys and girls differently, and that it is often misdiagnosed or allowed to slip by unnoticed.
According to Dr. Seema Kumar, one of the study’s co-authors and a medical researcher from the Mayo Clinic, “Females with ADHD are at risk of developing obesity during adulthood, and stimulant medications used to tread ADHD to not appear to alter that risk.”
The study followed 336 boys and girls who had been diagnosed with ADHD when they were children, and compared them to 665 children of similar age and sex without ADHD between 1976 and 2010 as they received treatment from the Mayo Clinic.
Researchers found that women who were diagnosed with ADHD as kids were twice as likely to become obese as adults than women without ADHD. This strong link between ADHD diagnosis and obesity later in life was not demonstrated in the male segment of the sample.
It may have something to do with the way each gender handles ADHD – researchers believe that while it makes boys hyperactive, it can result in depression and distraction issues in girls. Doctors believe this can lead to poor dietary habits formed at a young age, which likely affects obesity outcomes down the line.
The study was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. A press release describing the details of the study can be found here.