ADHD and Risk of Childhood Adiposity: a Review of Recent Research

Curr Nutr Rep. 2021 Mar;10(1):30-46. doi: 10.1007/s13668-020-00346-w. Epub 2021 Jan 5.


Purpose of review: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is considered as a risk factor for childhood adiposity and obesity. Studies on ADHD have provided limited data concerning the connections between eating habits, body mass index, and obesity. The purpose of this review was to examine the current literature regarding recent cohort and cross-sectional studies to determine the links between ADHD and childhood adiposity.

Recent findings: Studies in this review were classified into dietary features, nutritional status, neuroimaging findings, genetic overlapping, behavioral, cognitive, and neurocognitive aspects that play a role in mediating and moderating the relationship between ADHD and obesity. While ADHD, childhood adiposity, and overweight/obesity co-occur in children and adolescents, this relationship is largely explained by a variety of multidirectional factors.

Keywords: ADHD; BMI; Childhood adiposity; Children; Fat; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / genetics
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Pediatric Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity* / genetics