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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • ADHD;
  • ODD;
  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • binge eating

Abstract

Objective:

Among overweight and obese youths, rates of depression, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) are elevated. We analyze whether these emotional and behavioral problems are associated with specifically disordered eating pattern.

Method:

Participants in the study were 128 overweight and obese children/adolescents (BMI: m = 29.3, s = 4.5; BMI-SDS: m = 2.5, s = 0.4) between 8 and 15 years. Structured psychiatric assessments were conducted adopting a multimethod, multiinformant approach.

Results:

Children/adolescents with ODD symptoms showed increased eating in response to external cues and binge eating. ADHD symptoms were not associated with disordered eating behaviors. Children/adolescents with symptoms of depression and anxiety showed emotional and binge eating. In particular, overweight girls with symptoms of depression showed restrained eating.

Discussion:

Our results point to specific eating problems in overweight/obese children with ODD and depression/anxiety symptoms. The findings could help to tailor interventions to optimally meet the specific needs of overweight children with emotional and behavioral problems. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013)