Association Between Adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Obesity in the US Population

Authors

  • Sherry L. Pagoto,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Carol Curtin,

    1. Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Stephenie C. Lemon,

    1. Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Linda G. Bandini,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Kristin L. Schneider,

    1. Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Jamie S. Bodenlos,

    1. Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Yunsheng Ma

    1. Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
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(sherry.pagoto@umassmed.edu)

Abstract

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects ∼2.9–4.7% of US adults. Studies have revealed high rates of ADHD (26–61%) in patients seeking weight loss treatment suggesting an association between ADHD and obesity. The objective of the present study was to test the association between ADHD and overweight and obesity in the US population. Cross-sectional data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys were used. Participants were 6,735 US residents (63.9% white; 51.6% female) aged 18–44 years. A retrospective assessment of childhood ADHD and a self-report assessment of adult ADHD were administered. Diagnosis was defined by three categories: never met diagnostic criteria, met full childhood criteria with no current symptoms, and met full childhood criteria with current symptoms. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 33.9 and 29.4%, respectively, among adults with ADHD, and 28.8 and 21.6%, respectively, among persons with no history of ADHD. Adult ADHD was associated with greater likelihood of overweight, (odds ratio (OR) = 1.58; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05, 2.38) and obesity (OR = 1.81; 95% CI = 1.14, 2.64). Results were similar when adjusting for demographic characteristics and depression. Mediation analyses suggest that binge eating disorder (BED), but not depression, partially mediates the associations between ADHD and both overweight and obesity. Results suggest that adult ADHD is associated with overweight and obesity.

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