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ADHD and growth: anthropometric changes in medicated and non-medicated ADHD boys

Radek Ptacek, Hana Kuzelova, Ivo Paclt, Ilja Zukov, Slavomil Fischer

Med Sci Monit 2009; 15(12): CR595-599

ID: 878275

Available online: 2009-12-01

Published: 2009-12-01


Background: ADHD children can show changes in growth and development. Many studies describe these changes as a side effect of stimulant medication. However, changes in somatic development can also appear in non-medicated children. This suggests that the changes could be a manifestation of the disorder itself and not just a side effect of the treatment.
Material and Method: This study compared anthropometric characteristics in medicated and non-medicated ADHD boys (n=104, age 4-16 years) with the normal non-clinical population. In contrast to most previous studies, complex anthropometrical measurements were used.
Results: The results showed significant differences between children with ADHD and those without the diagnosis, the differences found to be statistically significant (p<0.01) being signs of nutrition (percentage of fat, abdominal circumference) and growth suppression (lower body height, smaller head circumference). Differences between the medicated and non-medicated groups corresponded only to a lower value of body fat in the medicated children.
Conclusions: These results suggest that growth changes in ADHD children may be more specific to the disorder itself than to stimulant treatment.

Keywords: Methylphenidate - adverse effects, Growth - drug effects, Child, Preschool, Child, Child Development - drug effects, Central Nervous System Stimulants - adverse effects, Body Weight - drug effects, Body Height - drug effects, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity - pathology, Anthropometry, Adolescent, Nutritional Status - drug effects



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