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Study: ADHD In Childhood Linked To Obesity In Adulthood

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File photo of a person holding a cheeseburger. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

File photo of a person holding a cheeseburger. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

CBS Connecticut (con't)

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WORCESTER, Mass. (CBS Connecticut) - The findings of a recent study indicate that children – in particular, young boys – who grapple with ADHD often struggle with obesity in their adult years.

Researchers involved in the study, including Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos from the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, surveyed men who had histories of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as those who did not.

The results of their survey showed that men who had ADHD were, on average, 19 pound heavier than those who had not been diagnosed with the disorder.

In the groups of men surveyed – many of whom had been studied since childhood because of their ADHD – an average weight of 213 pounds was reported in past patients. In men without previous ADHD diagnoses, an average weight of 194 pounds was observed.

Additionally, 41 percent of the first group was said to be obese, while only 22 percent of the second group fit into the same body mass categorization.

“As we learn more about the regions of the brain that may be implicated in obesity, they overlap with brain regions implicated in ADHD,” Castellanos told Reuters Health. “There is the speculation that the obesity is at least partly reflecting some of the impulsivity, poor planning and the difficulty in making choices.”

Men who no longer exhibited symptoms of ADHD were especially likely to be obese, as opposed to those who continue to struggle with it.

The study is the latest in a series that support a link between childhood ADHD and adult weight problems, Reuters Health is reporting.

Other researchers in the field who were not involved with the study, including Sherry Pagoto from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have also noticed the pattern.

“There’s definitely been enough research now where it does appear there is some connection between these two disorders,” she was quoted as saying. “Parents of children who have ADHD should pay special attention to how that child’s weight is changing over time, knowing that they may be at greater risk for becoming obese.”

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