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Girls with ADHD have a higher risk of Obesity, Study Says

Update Date: Feb 05, 2016 10:39 AM EST

Young girls who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might have a higher risk of adult obesity, a new Mayo Clinic study reported.

"This is the first population-based longitudinal study to examine the association between ADHD and development of obesity using ADHD cases and controls of both sexes derived from the same birth cohort," lead researcher Dr. Seema Kumar, who is a pediatrician at Mayo Clinic, said reported in the news release. "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."

For this study, the researchers recruited 336 participants who were diagnosed with ADHD during childhood. They also examined 665 participants who did not have ADHD but were of the same age and sex as the first group. Mayo Clinic had treated the participants between 1976 and 2010.

The team found that women who had childhood ADHD were two times more likely to be obese in adulthood when compared to women who were never diagnosed with ADHD. The researchers found that taking stimulants to treat ADHD did not appear to affect the women's risk of obesity.

The association between ADHD and obesity was not seen in the male participants.

The researchers suggested that counseling young girls with ADHD about healthy lifestyle habits could help prevent obesity, which is a growing problem throughout the world.

The team added that more research should be done to better under the link between an ADHD diagnosis and obesity.

The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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