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Kids With ADHD Have Higher Risk for Binge Eating Disorder

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The same mechanisms that affect impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could also predispose them to binge eating, according to new research published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

The study found that, since similar biological mechanisms may be at work in the two conditions, treatments for ADHD may help to prevent excess weight gain that is often seen in this population of children.

"Though many children with ADHD may lose weight when treated with the stimulant drugs regularly prescribed to control it, ADHD also has been associated with overweight and obesity," a press release on the study stated.

The impulsivity factor

Researchers found that children diagnosed with ADHD were 12 times more likely to have the criteria for binge eating, while overweight or obese binge eaters were also seven times more likely to have ADHD than overweight or obese children without binge eating behavior.

The common factor, according to study leader Shauna P. Reinblatt, is the behavior of inhibition - children who struggle with impulsive control are more likely to exhibit this behavior in their eating habits, she said.

Earlier this year, Vyvanse, a drug that is used to treat ADHD, was found to be effective in treating patients who suffer from binge-eating disorder.

"Though more research is necessary to explain the mechanism behind these findings, Reinblatt says, clinicians should screen for both ADHD and disinhibited eating behaviors," the press release concluded.

Source: EurekAlert!