Study Links Maternal Obesity with ADHD in Children

February 20th 2020
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor

Researchers suggest that if their findings are confirmed by additional studies, health care providers may want to screen children of obese mothers for ADHD so that they could be offered earlier interventions.

Maternal obesity may increase a child’s risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a recent study by researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The investigators found that mothers who were overweight or obese before pregnancy were more likely to report that their children had been diagnosed with ADHD or to have symptoms of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, or impulsiveness at ages 7 years to 8 years.

The NICHD Upstate KIDS Study was analyzed. It recruited mothers of young infants, and followed the children through the age of 8 years, examining approximately 2000 children.

The study team found that women who were obese before pregnancy were almost twice as likely to report that their child had ADHD or symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, or impulsiveness compared to children of women of normal weight before pregnancy.

The researchers suggest that if their findings are confirmed by additional studies, health care providers may want to screen children of obese mothers for ADHD so that they could be offered earlier interventions. In addition, the study team noted that health care providers could use evidence-based strategies to counsel women considering pregnancy about diet and lifestyle.

REFERENCE

Maternal obesity linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in children, NIH study suggests. NIH. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/maternal-obesity-linked-adhd-behavioral-problems-children-nih-study-suggests. Published February 19, 2020. Accessed February 19, 2020.

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