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Cambridge University Press, British Journal of Psychiatry, 1(203), p. 24-34, 2013

DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.112.123299

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Adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity: epidemiological study

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: A significant association between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity has been reported. This study addresses unexplored aspects of this relationship. AIMS: To evaluate the association between adult obesity and: (a) persistent, remitted or lifetime ADHD; (b) number of childhood ADHD symptoms, controlling for socioeconomic status and mood, anxiety and substance use disorders. METHOD: Face-to-face psychiatric interviews in 34 653 US adults from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Obesity was defined as a body mass index ≥30. RESULTS: Persistent, lifetime or remitted ADHD were not associated with obesity after controlling for confounders. The number of childhood ADHD symptoms was significantly associated with adult obesity, even after adjustment, in women. CONCLUSIONS: Childhood ADHD symptoms are associated with obesity in women even after comorbid psychiatric disorders are accounted for. This provides a rationale for longitudinal studies assessing the impact of the treatment of childhood ADHD symptoms on obesity in women.