ADHD increases risk of disordered eating

New twin study finds that disordered eating is more prevalent among children and adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than the general population.

By Kate Phillipa Clark

Researchers from Sweden and the U.S. have examined whether ADHD during childhood and early adolescence plays a role in the development of disordered eating in late adolescence. The study is a Swedish community-based cohort. The participants of the study were from the Swedish Twin Study of Child and Adolescent Development (TCHAD). It covers all twins born between May 1985 and December 1986 in Sweden. The findings were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in August 2017.

Parents need to be attentive

ADHD is defined by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Earlier studies have shown that girls with ADHD may be up to six times more likely to develop an eating disorder than girls without ADHD. The  recent study confirms that higher inattention combined with higher hyperactivity/impulsivity throughout childhood and adolescence was associated with increased disordered eating in late adolescence. The results indicate that parents, teachers, and health care providers should be attentive towards symptoms of eating disorder issues in children or adolescents diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. If symptoms are detected early on, full-blown disorders might be mitigated.

About the Author

Kate Phillipa Clark

Kate Phillipa Clark has a bachelor in Journalism and an Executive Master in Corporate Communication. She is an identical twin and so is her father.

 

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