Stimulant medications decrease energy expenditure and physical activity in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

N. F. Butte, M. S. Treuth, R. G. Voigt, Antolin Llorente, W. C. Heird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effect of stimulant medications used to treat children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) on energy expenditure, fuel utilization, and physical activity. Study design: Energy expenditure and physical activity were measured, respectively, by room respiration calorimetry and microwave motion detectors in 31 children with AD/HD (26 boys and 5 girls; ages 6 to 12 years) both while they were receiving their prescribed stimulant medication and after the medication had been discontinued for at least 24 hours. Fuel utilization was calculated from calorimetry data. Results: Total and awake energy expenditure including energy expended while doing schoolwork, riding a stationary bicycle, resting, and watching a movie were from 4% to 8% lower when the children were receiving their prescribed stimulant medication. Total and awake activity were also lower while they were receiving medication (16% to 22%) and accounted for the lower rates of energy expenditure. Sleeping metabolic rate, basal metabolic rate, and fuel utilization were unaffected by medication. Conclusions: Stimulant medications decrease physical activity, and hence, decrease the activity component of total daily energy expenditure in children with AD/HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-207
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this