To examine associations between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, obesity and hypertension in young adults in a large population-based cohort.
Design, Setting, and Participants
The study population consisted of 15,197 respondents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative sample of adolescents followed from 1995 – 2009 in the United States. Multinomial logistic and logistic models examined the odds of overweight, obesity, and hypertension in adulthood in relation to retrospectively reported ADHD symptoms. Latent curve modeling was used to assess the association between symptoms and naturally occurring changes in body mass index (BMI) from adolescence to adulthood.
Linear association was identified between the number of inattentive (IN) and hyperactive/impulsive (HI) symptoms and waist-circumference, BMI, diastolic blood pressure, and systolic blood pressure (all ps for trend < .05). Controlling for demographic variables, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking, and depressive symptoms, those with 3 or more HI or IN symptoms had the highest odds of obesity (HI 3+ OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.22-2.83; IN 3+ OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.02-1.44) compared to those with no HI or IN symptoms. HI symptoms at the 3+ level were significantly associated with a higher OR of hypertension (HI 3+ OR, 1.24; 95% CI 1.01-1.51; HI continuous OR, 1.04; 95% CI 1.00-1.09), but associations were non-significant when models were adjusted for BMI. Latent growth modeling results indicated that compared to those reporting no HI or IN symptoms, those reporting more 3 or symptoms had higher initial levels of BMI during adolescence. Only HI symptoms were associated with change in BMI.
Self-reported ADHD symptoms were associated with adult BMI and change in BMI from adolescence to adulthood, providing further evidence of a link between ADHD symptoms and obesity.