According to the Imperial College London research reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the possibility of having obese and sedentary teenagers afflicted with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is very real.
After following approximately 7000 children in Finland, the study improves on previous findings that have suggested a link between obesity and ADHD. By following those with ADHD from childhood to adolescence, the study uncovered that children with ADHD at age eight had higher chances of being obese by age 16.
This problem is traced back to the lack of physical activity of children with ADHD resulting in teenagers that are less active physically. With the lack of physical activity being identified as one of the culprits, encouraging more physical activity will allow those with ADHD to maintain a healthier weight and eventually show improvement in behaviour. At Focused Education we understand the importance of physical exercise. We encourage our students to become more active. Our specialist tutors understand that children with ADHD need to move. That’s why we ensure we embed physical exercise and game play in all of our sessions. Our Perth families often come back the week after a session with us excited that they played games whilst learning throughout the week.
Testing the Theory
With as much as five percent of school-aged children being at risk and showing signs of ADHD-like hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity, there is much value in testing the perceived link between ADHD and obesity. It is critical considering that ADHD alone is already complex and to combine it with the equally perplexing condition of obesity can make things more challenging diagnosis wise.
If obesity will further negatively impact the behaviour of the child and contribute to the development of ADHD, then maintaining healthy weight becomes essential to prevent instances of rule-breaking, delinquency, and even violence. Professor Alina Rodrigues of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London attests to the fact that obesity is one of the biggest problems in children and young adults, and to find the same issue in children with ADHD is very alarming.
The Health Risks
Using Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations based on the height and weight of the children in the control group, a record was kept for comparison based on the health examinations of these children as they reached the age of 16. The results confirmed that not only did those less physically inclined children became obese by age 16; they also have attention span problems among others. This opens up the possibility of numerous short- to long-term health risks like heart and circulatory diseases, type 2 diabetes, and event mental health conditions.
Binge eating was probed as a possible contributory factor to the 28% obesity rate for children ages 2 to 15 based on the statistics of the Public Health England. If you have a child with ADHD make sure they exercise before and after they take their medication. Stimulant medication often slows the body down by increasing a child’s blood pressure. Also make sure they spend more time outside, rather than watching TV. Having a variety of activities outside that they enjoy will help to encourage them. On a sunny day ask your child to complete their homework outside. This will increase the ‘feel good’ chemicals in their brain and they can easily have an exercise break.
At Focused Education our Perth speech therapy, tutoring and occupational therapy programs incorporate game play and exercise because we understand why it is important. Play with your kids more often. Such a simple, life-affirming activity. We promise you will enjoy the experience!
CONTACT US TODAY BECAUSE WE CAN HELP YOUR CHILD