Lifestyle & Belief

Is ADHD linked to obesity? New study suggests connection

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A new report, titled "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012," predicted that every state would have obesity rates of at least 44 percent, and 13 states would have obesity rates of over 60 percent.

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VANDERLEI ALMEIDA

Could ADHD and obesity be linked? Strange as it sounds for a mental disorder widely associated with high levels of physical activity, the answer may be "yes," according to newly released research. 

A new study, conducted out of New York and published in the "Pediatrics" journal, found that men diagnosed with childhood ADHD had considerably higher obesity rates and BMIs than their non-ADHD counterparts: according to MedPageToday, 41.4% of the ADHD (or formerly so) men were obese, as compared to 21.6% in the control group. 

The study authors added that these effects appeared to stay true even after data was adjusted to reflect both lifelong mental health disorders and socioeconomic conditions. 

According to Time, the findings were something of a surprise: the study was originally conducted to study differences in brain structure between ADHD and non-ADHD men and boys, when researchers noticed that many of the ADHD subjects were obese or overweight — spurring them to collect more height and weight data. 

Researchers used a cohort of 207 white boys diagnosed with childhood ADHD, then followed them as they aged, conducting follow-up interviews at age 18, 25, and 41. They also followed 178 boys who didn't have ADHD as a control group, according to Pediatrics. 

Researcher's conclusions seemed clear: "Children with ADHD are at increased risk of obesity as adults," reads the conclusion in Pediatrics — although researchers added that "findings of elevated BMI and obesity rates in men with remitted ADHD require replication."

"We are paying attention to obesity more and more these days. It would make a lot of sense to perhaps emphasize that issue with boys who have ADHD as they move into adulthood, no matter what," said Charles Shubin of Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore to MedPage Today.