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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • morbid obesity;
  • attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder;
  • AD/HD;
  • adolescents;
  • SDQ;
  • community sample;
  • comorbidity

Abstract

Objective:

This study analyzes whether obese children have a higher risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity “characteristics” (AD/HD) than do children with other nutritional states.

Method:

This study included 35,403 participants from 486 community schools. They completed the AD/HD scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and were weighed and measured. 2879 of the participants were obese and 78 were morbidly obese (BMI >40).

Results:

A discrete, nonsignificant, increment was found in the AD/HD characteristics of male participants with morbid obesity, as compared with the other nutritional states. Among morbidly obese females, the prevalence of AD/HD characteristics was slightly superior, although not significantly, to that found in participants with normal weight, overweight or obese (BMI <40).

Conclusion:

Among nonclinical populations with a communitarian origin, previous findings reporting high rates of AD/HD in obese children are not replicated. This increment in the prevalence of AD/HD among hospitalized obese children could be the result of selection bias. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006