Why ADHD may increase risk for obesity


by DR. WENDY SUE SWANSON / Pediatrician


Posted on May 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 22 at 8:16 PM

Obesity affects 17 percent of children and childhood obesity remains an important risk factor for obesity in adulthood, according to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a practicing pediatrician at The Everett Clinic.

Swanson joined KING 5 in studio Wednesday to talk about why the way we eat, listen to hunger cues, and deal with impulses may be a relevant part of the reason behind why some people are at a higher risk to get to unhealthy weight.
Obesity and ADHD figures in the U.S.

  • 17 percent of children obese
  • 35 percent of adults are obese
  • Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death
  • Somewhere between 7 and 10 percent children have ADHD diagnosis
  • Boys (13.2%) are more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ADHD

33-year study in pediatrics

  • Study followed boys from age 6 to 41
  • Men with childhood ADHD had twice the risk of obesity
  • Even when ADHD remits, obesity risk may remain
  • Children with ADHD now are at increased risk of obesity later

What parents need to know

  • Children with ADHD may be at higher risk for unhealthy weight
  • Divide responsibilities: parents provide food, kids eat
  • If unable to control eating, talk with doctor
  • Family meals are important strategy
  • Goal for ½ plate fresh fruit, veggies at each meal