[h1]Hyperactivity drug 'could help solve Britain's obesity crisis' [/h1]
Drugs used to treat hyperactive children, such as Ritalin, could be used to help solve Britain's obesity crisis as new research has shown one in three severely obese adults who fail to lose weight have undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Ritalin could help with Britain's obesity crisis
Doctors behind the latest findings claim a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by undiagnosed ADHD prevents severely obese patients from having the willpower to lose weight.
And they claim once the condition had been treated with drugs such as Ritalin improve their dieting success dramatically.
Almost one in four people in Britain are now obese, official statistics show, and research suggests the figure could rise to one in three by 2012 because of poor diet and sedentary lifestyles.
Dr Lance Levy, from the Nutritional Disorders Clinic in Toronto studied 242 severly obese patients who had failed to lose weight in 10 years. Each patient was screened for ADHD through a series of tests and interviews. Results showed 32 per cent had a diagnosis of ADHD. They were then prescribed anti-hyperactivity drugs including Adderall, a type of amphetamine and a Ritalin-style pill called Concerta, taken once a day.
After a year of treatment, those given the drugs had lost an average of 12 per cent of their total body weight, compared to 2.7 per cent of those not given medication. Volunteers also reported feeling calmer.
Dr Levy said: "People with ADHD are more likely to develop weight problems than those without it. But obesity itself does not cause ADHD.'"
Growing numbers of adults are being diagnosed however with effects including low energy levels and impulsive behaviour.
The National Obesity Forum welcomed new therapies, but said it was too early to say all obese patients should be screened for ADHD.
By Chris Irvine
Last Updated: 11:47AM BST 07 Apr 2009