ADHD and Obesity • Dr. Sharma has constantly posted on the relationship between Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and obesity. We see a remarkable number of adults with this disorder in our bariatric clinic and, treating this disorder is often a key step in helping these patients manage their weight. • In kids, this disorder is often characterized by substantial hyperactivity, which would be expected to burn more calories. But what about the impact of ADHD on resting energy expenditure (REE) and the thermogenic effect of food (together accounting for about 60% if not more of the daily calories burnt)?
Study by Mueller • This question was addressed by his colleague Thomas Mueller and other researchers from the University of Alberta in a paper published online in Eating and Weight Disorders. • Mueller and his team studied 12 pre-pubertal boys with untreated ADHD of the hyperactive-impulsive type and 12 control boys without ADHD. In addition, they examined an independent group of 60 boys with ADHD.
Study • On average, REE was 6.5 kcal/kg fat free mass/day higher in the ADHD compared to the control group. However, there was no difference in the thermogenic effect of food between groups. Neither age nor restlessness explained the differences in REE. • Despite the higher REE (and likely higher activity energy expenditiure due to the innate restlessness that comes with this condition), boys with ADHD had similar BMI levels compared to non-ADHD reference groups. • Thus, this paper shows that despite notably greater energy expenditure, ADHD kids are not generally leaner, clearly suggesting that they manage to make up for their greater energy needs through higher caloric intake.
Findings • One may well speculate that as these kids become older and their REEs (and activity expenditures?) decrease, persistence of a higher caloric intake than their non-ADHD peers may well make them more prone to obesity as adults. • How and why REE is elevated in ADHD clearly deserves further study. He would certainly appreciate hearing from any of his readers, who have experience with the ingestivebehaviour of ADHD kids.
About Dr. Arya M. Sharma Dr. Arya M. Sharma, MD/PhD, FRCPC is Professor of Medicine & Chair for Obesity Research and Management at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He is also the Medical Director of the Edmonton Capital Health Region’s interdisciplinary Weight Wise Program. Dr. Sharma is also the Scientific Director of the Canadian Obesity Network funded through the federal Networks of Centres Excellence program. Dr. Sharma has authored and co-authored more than 250 scientific articles and has lectured widely on the etiology and management of obesity and related cardiovascular disorders. He sends his informative messages through his blog Dr. Sharma’s Obesity Notes. For more information on Obesity visit; Website: http://www.drsharma.ca/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Arya-Sharma/115328778486319