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Study finds ADHD and obesity in teen link

The following below  is the article being retweeted all over twitter this week about a new study linking ADHD to teen obesity.

Tech Times

TAG ADHD, Obesity
Childhood ADHD connected to teen obesity, study claims

By Pierre Dumont, Tech Times | March 8, 9:53 PM
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A new study of 7,000 children in Finland suggests that childhood ADHD may be connected with teenage obesity.
(Photo : Brooke Anderson)

A new study suggests that children who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at a higher risk of becoming obese as teenagers.

There have been previous studies associating ADHD with obesity, but what exactly explains the relationship has remained unclear, as has whether additional weight or behavioral problems come first.

"In general, people think of children with hyperactivity as moving around a lot and therefore should be slim," senior author Alina Rodriguez said.

But Rodriguez said that children who have ADHD tend to be overactive in a fidgety way.

"Children with ADHD are not more likely to participate in physical activity, as we show in our report," she said.

The team's study suggests that kids with behavioral problems are less likely to be active as they age.

For their study, the researchers examined almost 7,000 children in Finland to determine whether ADHD symptoms at age eight were linked to greater chances of being obese by age 16. They interviewed parents and teachers of the children to determine their ADHD symptoms and conduct disorder symptoms at the ages of eight and 16.

The results of the study showed that children who had ADHD symptoms at a young age were nearly twice as likely to be obese as teens. This was true even after taking into account childhood weight.

"Obesity is a growing problem that we need to watch out for in all children and young people, but these findings suggest that it's particularly important for children with ADHD," Rodriguez said. "It appears that lack of physical activity might be a key factor. We think encouraging children with ADHD to be more physically active could improve their behavior problems as well as helping them to stay a healthy weight, and studies should be carried out to test this theory."

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about five percent of U.S. kids have ADHD, a condition that usually involves difficulty paying attention and lack of impulse control. There is no cure for the condition, but treatment through a combination of medication and behavior therapy exists, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Doctor L. Eugene Arnold, child psychiatrist and professor emeritus at The Ohio State University in Columbus, parents of children with ADHD should encourage active pursuits and join their children in being active if necessary. They should also limit screen time and keep health snacks available to prevent adolescent weight problems.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

What! ? They don't know the reason for this? REALLY?

I find it interesting that medical scientists cannot put two and two together and see just exactly WHY this is a link.

I noticed it over 8 years ago and I didn't need a study to see it, or to figure out the cause or correlation!

Maybe that sounds conceited of me. But as a person with ADHD, perhaps I have an inside knowledge on this they are blindly missing? I mean medical scientists with years of university education can't seriously be this blind, can they?

What we already know.

Through studies we know that adhd brains have been shown to lack proper dopamine production and regultion.

We know that people with ADHD do well on stimulant medications.

And, we know that people with ADHD often self medicate with stimulant drugs like nicotine and caffiene and sugary foods for a dopamine boost.

So, it would stand to reason that teens with ADHD would seek self regulation for their brain by naturally craving sweet treats for a lift in brain stimulation since caffiene and nicotine are frowned upon as a teen.

As children they ran about a lot, and got all their food from parents. When they become teens, they often start to be responsible for half to 2/3rds of their own food intake daily, and as they get older they often become less physically active with school all day, 2 to 3 hours of homework 5 days a week and just normal changes in lifestyle as they age.

10 year olds climb trees and tend to only get food treats when a parent gives them to them.

15 year olds hang out and gossip or play video games, go to the mall or hang out at a local hang out and can buy their own treats. And, they can tend to be less physically active as teens....with or without ADHD.

But, an adhd teen brain is growing and changing. ADHD can get worse through puberty and perhaps they are craving more stimulation as they require a change in meds to cope with ADHD that is being undermedicated for the level of severity of their adhd now.

Or maybe they are not medicated at all, and as they get older and have more things going on in life requiring stronger executive functions that are underdeveloped in their adhd brain. Thier brain would naturally crave a boost through sugar.

Also...let's not forget the social struggles teenage ADHD kids go through. School work is harder, time management is harder, fitting in is harder.

Depression and anxiety is often a side diagnoasis for kids with adhd because of struggles with fitting in with peers, or struggles with physical abilities with sports if they have other issues like SPD or Dyspraxia that often stop them from being on the soccer team or the football team or the swim team.

Lack of dopamine in the adhd brain is why they tend to be daredevils seeking adrenaline, sometimes with shoplifting or pranks, picking fights, or dangerous hobbies like fast driving or backyard wrestling for example.

It is why teens can hyperfocus on stimulating video games or surfing the web for hours,  giving them a constant drip of dopamine for a brain boost.

It is why adhd kids can tend to smoke cigarettes more, get in trouble with drugs and alcohol more, and why they get in fights and argue more with peers and family more. They are all stimulating for the adhd brain looking for a dopamine boost.

So if we can see all that and understand it about adhd...why can't we see that sugar and food cravings could be an issue for teenage ADHDers?

When I went on stimulant medication for my ADHD at 32 years old I immediately stopped having sugar and carb crabings as badly as I used to because my brain was being given what it lacked and it stopped seeking it.

If teenage ADHDers are seeking stimultion through sugar....they are going to risk gaining more weight than their peers . It's a simple math.

This study tells me nothing I didn't already know.

ADHD brains will seek to regulate itself and if the way they regulate itself is unhealthy, the treatment protocol for that ADHD person needs to be reevaluated.

So, if so many teens with ADHD are creating a statistic like this...maybe the treatment protocols overall for ADHD needs to be looked at.

Like maybe stopping the suggested medication vacations on weekends because stimulant medications scare society because they are addictive to non adhd brains would be a good start.

And, maybe changing the suggested medication dose limit based on age or weight of a ADHD person, and instead basing it on the level of severity of lack of dopamine production and regulation in an adhd individual, would be a good start! Can we get some studies on that?!

It is not hard to look at what ADHD brains lack, what sugar does to a brain, and look at stat data and figure out why adhd teens could be more overweight than their non adhd peers!

If your ADHD teen is seeking brain regulation through overeating high carb foods and gaining weight, maybe  it is time to let them start drinking a coffee or two a day, or get their meds reevaluated with an adhd specialist doctor.

Please share your experiences and or opinions here in the comments below, or reply to me on Twitter @superaddmom.

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