Could childhood ADHD be a future cause of obesity in teens?

A new study suggests, that having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may put children at higher risk of becoming obese in adolescence.

Although previous reports have linked ADHD and obesity, it hasn’t been clear exactly what explains the relationship or whether the behavioral difficulties or extra weight tends to come first.

Kids who had symptoms of ADHD at a young age were almost twice as likely to be obese as teens, according to results published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. That was true even after the researchers took their childhood weight into account.

The resulting extra weight for teens probably also means extra weight in adulthood, but he noted that some teens gain weight early before a growth spurt and will end up slimmer.

There is some evidence that kids with ADHD tend to eat more carbohydrates and less protein than other kids, he noted.

As a work of caution parents of kids with ADHD should encourage active pursuits and join the kids in being active if necessary, limit screen time and keep healthy snacks on hand to help prevent teenage weight problems.

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