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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 May;28(5):685-9.

Overweight and obesity in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Technical University of Aachen, Germany.



Epidemiological studies suggest that adiposity in children may be associated with a reduced level of physical activity. Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are physically hyperactive as of early childhood and have been shown to exhibit higher levels of motor activity than normal. The aim of our study was to assess if the prevalence of overweight and obesity is lower in a population of boys with ADHD in comparison with the German healthy male reference population of the same age.


Patients were investigated from 1999 until 2001 upon referral to the inpatient and outpatient unit of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University of Aachen.


A total of 97 male patients (mean age 10+/-2 y) with a diagnosis of ADHD according the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), who were free of potentially orexigenic medication and who had no further comorbid diagnosis apart from conduct disorder.


BMI standard deviation scores (BMI-SDS) were calculated and compared to age-adapted reference value of the German population.


Patients' mean BMI-SDS was significantly higher than the age-adapted reference values of the German population (P=0.038). Our sample included significantly more subjects than expected with a BMI > or =90th percentile (19.6%, P<0.001) and > or =97th percentile (7.2%, P=0.007).


Surprisingly, being 'hyperactive' in the sense of the DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD does not prevent the development or persistence of overweight and obesity in children. The examination of these children might be a helpful approach in the investigation of the relationship between obesity and its contributing psychological and behavioural factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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