The findings run counter to an earlier study that showed that hyperactive adult men had a greater tendency for obesity than men who left childhood ADHD behind, said Dr. Craig Surman, scientific coordinator for the Adult ADHD Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
"So, the simple story here would be we don't know, because you have to replicate studies to know," he said. "The question now becomes why the findings are different."
Future research also needs to consider whether women with childhood ADHD are as likely as men with childhood ADHD to become obese, and whether controlling hyperactivity through the use of medication can have an impact, Surman said.
ADHD is more common in boys than girls, with 12 percent of U.S. boys aged 3 to 17 receiving the diagnosis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The link between ADHD and obesity has become a topic of great interest as elevated rates of obesity have been reported in children with the disorder, Surman said. Obesity can lead to heart disease and diabetes later in life.
"It's very important to understand the ways ADHD affects life and self-care," Surman said. "We've known for some time that it's not just people's desks and houses that are messy. For some people, it's a lack of ability to control how to care for themselves as well."
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has tips for healthy weight loss.
SOURCES: Francisco Xavier Castellanos, M.D., Brooke and Daniel Neidich Professor of Chi
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