ADHD & Obesity: the effects of ADHD upon health

ADHD & Obesity: the effects of ADHD upon health

A recent systematic data review conducted in the United States has found a significant link between those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and increased rates of obesity. Assessing more than 700 000 individuals, both children and adults, Kooij (2016) found that this risk increases over time, with adult with ADHD experiencing obesity at a higher rate than children. As such, recognising these symptoms early will have a greater impact over all.

Several common symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity, inattentiveness, or restlessness, can be associated with behaviours that are substantially related to increased risk of obesity. Impulsivity can result in binge eating or drinking, with little thought as to the consequences for one’s health. As a consequence of inattentiveness, those with ADHD often have difficulty in planning their day, resulting in meals skipped or eaten at an inappropriate time. Restless individuals have a shorter sleeping patterns, slowing down their metabolism and resulting an increased risk of obesity. Recognising the connection between these symptoms and the behaviours that they may impact can is important in developing ways that they may be treated

Understanding how these two-health issue interact is not only aids in the understanding of how both affect the individual both mentally and physically, and how they may be treated together, as opposed to treating them separately. The effects of ADHD can be varied in individuals across the lifespan, and acknowledging these issues in early childhood is important, as building strong values of health and eating properly, may minimise this risk in the teenage years and later adulthood.


Source: Kooij, J. (2016). ADHD and Obesity. American Journal Of Psychiatry173(1), 1-2.

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