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ADHD and Obesity/Overweight Prevalence

Meta-analysis looks at link in adults and children

There is a significant link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity/overweight, according to a meta-analysis of 42 studies that included a total of 728,136 individuals.

The analysis included study participants with ADHD (n=48,161) and those without ADHD (n=679,975).

Among the results:

• Children with ADHD were 1.2 times more likely to be obese than those without ADHD. Adults with ADHD were 1.5 times more likely to be obese as those without ADHD.

• Obesity prevalence was increased by about 70% and 40% in adults and children with ADHD, respectively, compared with their cohorts without ADHD.

• The correlation remained when analysis was limited to studies that, 1) adjusted for potential confounders, 2) diagnosed ADHD by direct interview, and 3) used directly measured height and weight.

The authors also found that ADHD was significantly linked with overweight, and that medication for ADHD did not increase risk of obesity.

Citation: Cortese S, Moreira-Mala C, Fleur D, Morcillo-Penalver C, Rohde L, Faraone S. Association between ADHD and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Psychiatry. 2016;173(1):34043.