(HealthDay News) — Childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with increased obesity in females, according to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Roxana L. Aguirre Castaneda, MD, from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, and colleagues examined obesity rates for 336 patients with childhood ADHD and 665 age- and sex-matched non-ADHD controls from a 1976 to 1982 birth cohort. Patients were followed through August 31, 2010.

The researchers found that during the follow-up period patients with ADHD were 1.23 times more likely to be obese than non-ADHD controls (P<.05). The correlation was not statistically significant in females (hazard ratio [HR]=1.49; 95% CI, 0.98-2.27; P=.06) or males (HR=1.17; 95% CI, 0.92-1.48; P=.20). 

Compared with controls, patients with ADHD who were not obese as of the date of ADHD diagnosis were 1.56 times more likely to be obese during follow-up (P<.01). The correlation was significant for females (HR=2.02; 95% CI, 1.13 -3.60; P=.02). 

Compared with non-ADHD controls, more patients with ADHD were obese after age 20 years (34.4% vs 25.1%; P=.01); the difference was only seen in females (41.6% vs 19.2%).

“Childhood ADHD is associated with obesity during childhood and young adulthood in females,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Aguirre Castaneda RL, Kumar S, Voigt RG, et al. Childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Sex, and Obesity: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016. doi:/10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.09.017.