ADHD Medication Slows Growth, Increases Obesity

Kermit Cole
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Treating attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with stimulants affects growth and is likely to cause a higher BMI in later adolescence, according to research from Johns Hopkins, published today in the journal Pediatrics.  “Given the rapid increases in both ADHD diagnosis and stimulant treatment over the past decades, our findings might suggest to clinicians that long-term impacts on childhood and adolescent BMI growth trajectories, and perhaps continuing into adulthood, may result from stimulant use in childhood,” says Brian Schwartz, the lead author. “We found that the earlier in childhood that stimulants were started and the longer they were used, the stronger were the effects in producing both delayed BMI growth in early childhood and rebound BMI growth in late adolescence,”

Abstract →

Schwartz, B., et al.; Attention Deficit Disorder, Stimulant Use, and Childhood Body Mass Index Trajectory. Pediatrics. Online March 17, 2014. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3427d)

Of further interest:
ADHD treatment may be tied to obesity, study suggests (Today Health)
The Link between ADHD and Obesity (PsychCentral)
Childhood ADHD Linked to Obesity in Adults for First Time (Medscape)
Link between childhood ADHD and obesity revealed in first long-term study (Science Daily)
Obesity in Men With Childhood ADHD: A 33-Year Controlled, Prospective, Follow-up Study (Pediatrics)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]