Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Preventing Obesity, Part Three: ADHD and Obesity

My two earlier blogs on obesity generated lots of discussion on Facebook and throughout our chapter networks. One chapter leader shared an article by blogger Zoe Kessler on the connection between undiagnosed and untreated ADHD as a “contributing factor in a significant number of cases of severe obesity,” especially in women.

Two professional journal articles addressing this subject can be found in the online library of the National Resource Center on ADHD, a program of CHADD supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1. Fleming, Levy, and Levitan in a March 2005 issue of Eating Weight Disorders reported that 26.7 percent of severely obese women and girls had significant ADHD.
2. Levy, Fleming, and Klar in the February 17, 2009 issue of the International Journal of Obesity reported significant co-occurring ADHD, obesity, sleep apnea, binge eating, and mood disorder. They recommend that individuals seeking medical or surgical weight loss have an ADHD assessment.

The science has not yet adequately researched and published these relationships. Zoe Kessler speculates that one contributing factor to the relationship between ADHD and obesity is the lack of self-regulation and impulse control in ADHD when related to diet and food consumption. Another contributing factor, Kessler thinks, is the possibility that people who are undiagnosed and untreated for their ADHD seek to increase their dopamine levels in an effort to self-medicate their ADHD. Again, we need much more science to answer the questions about the relationship between ADHD and obesity.

I will continue to blog on this topic.


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