Is there a link between obesity and ADHD? – Autism Parenting Magazine | Wonder Mind Kids

This article sheds light on the discussion surrounding the link between obesity and ADHD symptoms. Could attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, such as inattention and compulsions, be a risk factor for obesity in adults and children?

Is there a link between obesity and ADHD?

The scientific links between obesity and ADHD are highlighted in this article. We will also define and clarify what obesity and ADHD are.

Ways to help individuals with adult and childhood ADHD symptoms, such as inattention, will be discussed. Also, how relieving ADHD symptoms and making healthier choices can help achieve a healthy weight.

The statements and views expressed in this article do not directly reflect Autism Parenting Magazine. We recommend discussing any questions with your treating physician before making any lifestyle changes.

What defines obesity?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the calculation of a person’s weight in kilograms (kg) divided by their height in meters (m). The higher the number, the higher the fat count for the body and overall BMI.

The average range for an adult is between 18.5 and < 25 BMI. A BMI of 25 to <30 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more is obese.

There are categories of obesity and they range from Class 1 to Class 3. Class 3 is a BMI of 40 or more and is severe obesity.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

One of the most well-known neurodevelopmental disorders is ADHD. It is typically diagnosed in childhood and continues into adulthood.

The 3 similarities of ADHD are:

  1. Inattention and difficulty paying attention
  2. Impulsive behavior and outbursts
  3. High activity, inability to calm down

Some other symptoms to look out for are:

  • stare and dream
  • forgetfulness
  • fidgets, finds it difficult to sit still
  • Negligence and Risky Conduct
  • impulsive
  • hard time making and sharing friends

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What is the connection between obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Studies and articles have been written on the correlation between ADHD and obesity. The item, “The link between ADHD and obesity: Fascinating, increasingly researched, but still enigmatic”discusses the possibilities between the two.

There are not many definite answers to this question. As studies continue, it’s important to note that there have been studies that have shown some common factors between ADHD and obesity.

There is a significant association between ADHD and obesity risk in both men and women. In most cases, there is no evidence that one gender has a higher rate of obesity and ADHD than the other.

Genetic and environmental factors have also been shown to be factors between the two. The prevalence of children diagnosed with ADHD who fall within the obesity range typically have parents or other family members with both ADHD and obesity factors.

The risk factors for both ADHD and obesity can be exacerbated by:

  • Insomnia and sleep apnea syndrome
    Sleep is incredibly important for brain and body functions, and irregular sleeping habits can affect it. When someone has trouble sleeping, it can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness. The best prevention for this is for the individual to practice good sleep hygiene.
  • poor diet
    Obese patients have been found to have poor eating habits that lead to eating disorders like binge eating. Excessive amounts of food and food intake can lead to binge eating.
  • lack of exercise and inactivity
    Physical inactivity caused by either excessive screen time or lack of interest related to depression or other mental illnesses can lead to weight gain.
  • inflammation
    Inflammation occurs in both obese patients and those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has negative effects on the body and brain.

All of the above factors are interconnected and are found in individuals with both. It is not found in any conclusive study, there have been studies that have found the link between ADHD and obesity as listed in the article above.

How common is obesity in people diagnosed with ADHD?

Adult obesity has been found to correlate with ADHD, at least 20 years of studies have been conducted. There are no conclusions as to how and why these associations exist in adults.

In studies of childhood ADHD and obesity, the results were not as clear-cut. The underlying behavioral symptoms associated with both ADHD and obesity require further research.

How can individuals diagnosed with ADHD and in the obesity range help themselves?

The best way people diagnosed with ADHD can help themselves is to first get an official ADHD diagnosis. This will help provide options and support for treatments and ADHD medication if needed.

Once the person has received support for their ADHD diagnosis, some of the behaviors associated between ADHD and obesity can be acknowledged, such as: B. the link between impulsive behavior and binge eating habits.

Things like better eating habits, healthier food choices, more physical activity, and good sleep habits. These habits can contribute to weight loss and reduce inflammation in the body and brain.

Final Thoughts

Although a correlation has been found between ADHD and adult obesity, there is a way to help with the symptoms and individuals who practice healthy weight loss and reduce certain ADHD behaviors.

There are ways people can help themselves and improve their overall well-being that will help them achieve a healthy weight and reduce problematic behaviors associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The information in this article is a good starting point, and a lot of research has been done on the relationship between these two.

Physicians and other practitioners also have the knowledge and access to support and therapies that could help improve these individuals’ overall quality of life. The words of Francis Bacon ring true in the quest for knowledge and understanding,

“Knowledge is power.


CDC. (2022). Definition of overweight and obesity in adults.

CDC. (2022). What is ADHD?

Cortese, S. (2019). The Association Between ADHD and Obesity: Fascinating, More Studied, But Still Puzzling.

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