Research has shown that kids with ADHD are heavier than average, and that significant ADHD symptoms are twice as likely in overweight children, but the link between ADHD and obesity in girls is stronger.
The abnormalities in the brain that can cause ADHD can also cause eating disorders, said paediatrician and researcher Seema Kumar.
There is also a difference in how ADHD affects the behaviour between boys and girls.
“Girls with ADHD may not be able to control their eating and may end up overeating. Because kids with ADHD don’t have impulse control, it may also play a role in this.”
READ: ADHD and your toddler
Boys with ADHD tend to be hyperactive and burn more calories. “It is possible that there are differences in eating patterns with boys with ADHD or differences in the types of ADHD girls have,” she said.
Compared to boys, Dr. Brandon Korman, chief of neuropsychology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, said, girls have more ‘internalising behaviours’ and less ‘externalising behaviours.’
He advises that parents and physicians and other caregivers need to be proactive in monitoring eating habits and exercise, and be aware of changes in body composition.
A healthy diet and active lifestyle are important.
As parents, Korman also said, one of the last things we want to do is create a panic.
ADHD is not a sentence for being obese, but these findings warrant a greater awareness. It’s unhealthy expecting that this will happen, but it’s a good thing to be aware of it.
Is my child obese?
If your child is overweight or obese, this means that they are carrying excess body fat. If nothing is done about this, the extra weight that they are carrying may cause problems for their health.
“Measurement of height and weight are the most commonly used tools to quickly evaluate the proportionality of children,” sources say. “These measurements allow calculation of the body mass index (BMI). It is important to consider the physique of the individual.
“While having a weight in excess of what would be expected for a certain height is most commonly a documentation of excessive fat tissue, certain individuals may be over-muscled (for example, weightlifters). With the exception of very rare bone diseases, the idea of an individual’s excessive weight due to being “big boned” is an urban myth.”
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