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Overweight mothers run greater risk of having hyperactive children
Date:11/1/2007

If a woman is overweight when she becomes pregnant, the probability is much greater that her child will evince ADHD-like symptoms when he/she reaches school age, according to a new Nordic study. The investigation was carried out by Alina Rodriguez at Uppsala University in collaboration with international colleagues, and is available online in the International Journal of Obesity.

The study, comprising more than 12,500 children in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, shows for the first time that there is a correlation between the mothers body mass index (BMI, weight in relation to height) at the time she becomes pregnant and symptoms like hyperactivity and concentration problems in the child.

Many children are being diagnosed with ADHD and at the same time there is an epidemic of obesity in the world, with more and more women already overweight at the time they become pregnant. If it turns out that the mothers weight is of significance and, together with other factors, can influence ADHD-like symptoms in the child, we have not only found a contributory cause but also a potential avenue for preventive work that can enhance the well-being of both mother and child, says Alina Rodriguez at the Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, who is the lead author of the article.

The children were monitored from their time in the womb up to school age, when their teachers were asked to answer a questionnaire about the childs behavior. Roughly one out of ten children had marked difficulties with their attention span and with hyperactivity.

How many of them actually have ADHD cannot be determined solely on the basis of the questionnaire responses, however, explains Alina Rodriguez.

The correlation between mothers body mass index and child symptoms was found not only in those cases where the mother suffered from pronounced obesity but also in cases where the women were moderately overweight. Expectant mothers who were already o
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Contact: Johanna Blomqvist
johanna.blomqvist@uadm.uu.se
46-704-250-864
Uppsala University
Source:Eurekalert

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