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Prev Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;52(3-4):218-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.003. Epub 2011 Jan 15.

Health behaviors and obesity among US children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by gender and medication use.

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Dept. of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1206 S. 4th St, 213 Huff Hall, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.



We examined the levels of physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and obesity among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by gender and medication use and estimated the associations between health behaviors and obesity.


Cross-sectional analysis of children 6-17 years-old enrolled in the National Survey of Children's Health 2003 (n=66,707). Odds ratios were adjusted for multistage-sampling and survey-design effects.


ADHD prevalence was 8.6%. In general, children with ADHD engaged in less physical activity, organized sports, and reading than their counterparts. Children with ADHD had increased risk of obesity for boys [24.9% vs. 21.6%, OR(95% CI): 1.42(1.13-1.77)] and girls [21.9% vs. 16%, 1.85(1.26-2.73)], if not medicated. Only girls with ADHD and not on medication were more likely to have higher media time (52.7% vs. 42%) and this was associated with higher odds for obesity [27.7% vs. 19.5%, 2.51 (1.24-5.08)]. Children with ADHD on medication had higher prevalence of depression than those not taking medication [boys: 29.5% vs. 26.3%; girls: 30.9% vs. 23.6%] and the odds of being depressed remained significant after controlling for obesity [boys: 1.45 (1.09-1.94); girls: 2.27 (1.48-3.49)].


Health promotion and obesity prevention programs targeting children with ADHD should take gender and medication use into consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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