The effect of methylphenidate treatment on exercise performance in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Yoav Meckel Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Wingate Institute, Israel
  • Dan Nemet Child Health and Sport Center, Pediatric Department, Meir Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
  • Alon Eliakim Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Wingate Institute, Israel; Child Health and Sport Center, Pediatric Department, Meir Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Keywords: ADHD, methylphenidate, exercise, children

Abstract

The prevalence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the school-age population is 8–10%, with boys having higher prevalence than girls. Children with ADHD have reduced physical fitness characteristics and exercise capacity compared to healthy children. There are conflicting results regarding the effect of treatment on exercise performance in children with ADHD. We determined fitness characteristic in children with ADHD receiving methylphenidate treatment (17.5±0.6 years; n=16) compared to age-adjusted ADHD children not receiving treatment (17.2±0.7 years; n=16). There were no significant differences in anthropometric measures between the treated and non-treated participants. There were no significant differences in the 60 seconds sit ups number, number of pull-ups, 4X10m shuttle run times and 2000m running times between the treated and non-treated participants. Standing long-jump results were significantly better among the non-treated ADHD participants (p<0.02). The results suggest that methylphenidate treatment might be disadvantageous for maximal speed and explosive-type activities in ADHD patient. Further studies are needed to clarify if other sports activities which require attention, accuracy, concentration and organization may benefit from such treatment.
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