Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Obesity: A National Study of 1.1 Million Israeli Adolescents

Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, Aya Bardugo, Brian Reichman, Estela Derazne, Zohar Landau, Itay Tokatly Latzer, Liat Lerner-Geva, Jacob Rotschield, Dorit Tzur, Danny Ben-Zvi, Arnon Afek, Gilad Twig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The incidences of obesity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have increased in parallel over recent decades. We assessed the association between obesity and ADHD in a national sample of adolescents. Method: In a nationwide population-based study of 1 118 315 adolescents (57% males; mean age 17 years), risks of obesity were compared between individuals with severe and mild ADHD and those without ADHD. Diagnoses of ADHD were confirmed by specialists in either neurology or psychiatry. Adolescents requiring regular and continuous treatment with stimulants with no improvement of symptoms under treatment were classified as having severe ADHD; data were available from 2004 to 2019. During 2015 to 2019, the diagnosis of ADHD was defined, and 65 118 (16.76%) of 388 543 adolescents with mild symptoms who required medications only for learning or who used stimulants irregularly were defined as having mild ADHD. Results: The prevalence of severe and mild ADHD was 0.3% and 20.1%, respectively. Obesity was more prevalent among adolescents with severe ADHD than among those without ADHD (13.5% vs 7.5%). In the mild ADHD group 12.6% of males and 8.4% of females were diagnosed with obesity compared to 9.7% and 6.4%, respectively, in the non-ADHD group. The adjusted odds of severe ADHD for males and females with obesity were 1.77 (1.56-2.02) and 2.09 (1.63-2.66) times the odds for males and females with low-normal body mass index, respectively, and 1.42 (1.37-1.48) and 1.42 (1.34-1.50) for males and females with mild ADHD, respectively. The elevated risk persisted in several sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: Both adolescents with severe and mild ADHD are at increased risk for obesity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)E1434-E1443
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/drug therapy
  • Body Mass Index
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants/therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Obesity/complications


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