Bonita Woods

ADHD Causes Overweight?

My awesome & energetic son

My awesome & energetic son

 I just read an interesting article. According to a recent study at NIH, children with ADHD are more likely to become overweight..??? 
What? Being hyperactive makes you fat? No, of course not. But anyone, especially children, with ADHD often have poor impulse control. It is also common for them to have a secondary diagnosis for OCD, which can make it difficult for them to stop an action in process...like eating. OR an Autism Spectrum diagnosis, which can get social cues or cause & effect comprehension late for development.

Additionally, many ADHD kids crave comfort food to soothe the constant adrenaline rushing into their tummies. This can kill the healthful gut bacteria, causing digestive issues that makes it impossible to digest healthful fruits, grains and veggies. If your ADHD loved one only eats a “kids menu” type meal plan &/or craves pickles, this could be the issue.

If an ADHD kid is medicated, this might cause a level of constant exhaustion or a metabolic slow down that makes cardio intense activity difficult to manage. Especially if the ADHD is linked with any diagnostic issue that makes team sports difficult to manage. (Zander excelled in nature activities like hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, etc… Team sports were consistently a HUGE disaster! But we did loads of camping & wilderness treks with friends and fun groups.)

Put these byproducts of ADHD together and you can end up with a weight problem. From my experience, the best way to combat this is with education and behavioral therapy. The more that children learn about the outcome of their choices, the easier for them to choose with their mind instead of from cravings, compulsions and habit. This can mean reviewing possibilities and likelihoods with each lifestyle choice for up to several years… but eventually the concept of personal responsibility towards physical can become natural, even for the wildest & most hyper of children!

This synopsis is further supported by the groundbreaking research at Brown Medical School, as reported by Reuters several years ago. The researchers analyzed data from 62,887 children and adolescents included in the National Survey of Children's Health. The results of this study are the basis for much of our current understanding about the connection between ADHD and poor impulse control. Self empowerment through repeated & supported decision processing can have a HUGE, POSITIVE impact on long term health & weight for our super amazing ADHD kids.

Side Note: If someone is eating a nutrition starved diet, some of the neuro/bio-chemical/behavioral issues can be caused by micro-nutrient undernourishment. As a retired food scientist & nutritional chef, I have seen the extraordinary effects of adding nutrition to one’s diet. I have worked in senior care, memory care, cancer treatment hospice facilities. Each time we seemed to miraculously cure the patients/residents/clients! In reality, we just brought them from a place of illness & malnourishment to to the health care place they should be. It has been proven time & again that youth who exhibit behavior that is heading them to juvenile detention often have an undiagnosed health issue &/or lack important elements of functional nourishment. Several years ago there was a national program where selected youth with behavioral problems were given fully balanced meals. Each child was given a full standard neuro-psych evaluation and received a diagnosis and relevant medication prescription. Additionally, each child was put on a nutrient & micro-nutrient rich diet. Within several months, each child was medication free and re-evaluation placed them within the normal bio-chemical & socio-behavioral management range. That is how important it is to eat healthfully and well!

(in photo: my awesome son Zander, the poster child for ADHD. He has enough energy to power up a small city! Absolutely an “act first, plan later” kind of guy. He is now an adult. Z is fit, healthful and makes …mostly… pretty good decisions.)