To compare BMI and obesity rates in fully grown men with and without childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We predicted higher BMI and obesity rates in: (1) men with, versus men without, childhood ADHD; (2) men with persistent, versus men with remitted, ADHD; and (3) men with persistent or remitted ADHD versus those without childhood ADHD.
Men with childhood ADHD were from a cohort of 207 white boys (referred at a mean age of 8.3 years), interviewed blindly at mean ages 18 (FU18), 25 (FU25), and 41 years (FU41). At FU18, 178 boys without ADHD were recruited. At FU41, 111 men with childhood ADHD and 111 men without childhood ADHD self-reported their weight and height.
Men with childhood ADHD had significantly higher BMI (30.1 ± 6.3 vs 27.6 ± 3.9; P = .001) and obesity rates (41.4% vs 21.6%; P = .001) than men without childhood ADHD. Group differences remained significant after adjustment for socioeconomic status and lifetime mental disorders. Men with persistent (n = 24) and remitted (n = 87) ADHD did not differ significantly in BMI or obesity rates. Even after adjustment, men with remitted (but not persistent) ADHD had significantly higher BMI (B: 2.86 [95% CI: 1.22 to 4.50]) and obesity rates (odds ratio: 2.99 [95% CI: 1.55 to 5.77]) than those without childhood ADHD.
Children with ADHD are at increased risk of obesity as adults. Findings of elevated BMI and obesity rates in men with remitted ADHD require replication.