Study Finds Children with ADHD are Less Physically Active

January 21st 2020
M. May Zhang, PharmD Candidate
M. May Zhang, PharmD Candidate

ADHD is correlated with lower health-related quality of life that starts in childhood and can persist into adulthood.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common psychiatric disorder worldwide, and the rate of diagnosis has increased significantly over the past decade. As of 2016, an estimated 6.1 million American children had been diagnosed with ADHD.

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ADHD is correlated with lower health-related quality of life that starts in childhood and can persist into adulthood. Previous studies associate ADHD with decreased academic performance and physical activity, and increased odds of screen time, overeating, and obesity. Effective treatment requires a combination of pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches.

The existing literature shows that regular physical activity is a beneficial adjunct treatment. Previous studies have demonstrated many benefits of exercise in children with ADHD, including improvement in core symptoms, test scores, sleep, mood, and social disorders.

The

recently published a study that analyzed the relationship between ADHD diagnosis and engagement in physical activity. The researchers studied data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), a caregiver-reported survey conducted by the US Census Bureau. The final study population included 34,675 children ranging in age from 6 years to 17 years.

Journal of Attention Disorders

The study found that children diagnosed with ADHD had 21% lower odds of engaging in daily physical activity than nondiagnosed children, confirming the inverse association shown by previous studies. The researchers further qualified the relationship by studying the association between ADHD and different degrees of activity. Diagnosed children were increasingly less likely to participate in 1-3 days, 4-6 days, and 7 days per week of exercise, respectively.

Read the full article onPharmacy Times.

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