Child ADHD and autistic traits, eating behaviours and weight: A population-based study

Holly A. Harris, April Bowling, Susana Santos, Kirstin Greaves-Lord, Pauline W. Jansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have an increased obesity risk. Although these conditions commonly co-occur, shared factors relating to obesity risk are unknown. Objectives: To examine the shared and unique associations of ADHD and autistic traits with eating behaviours and BMI. Methods: Children (N = 4134) from the population-based Generation R Study were categorized into subgroups based on parent-reported ADHD and autistic traits scores at 6 years: ADHDHigh, ASDHigh, ADHD+ASDHigh and REF (reference group: ADHD+ASDLow). Multiple linear regressions examined the associations between subgroups and eating behaviours (at 10 years) and BMIz (at 14 years), relative to REF. Mediation analyses tested the indirect effect of subgroup and BMIz through eating behaviours. Results: ADHD + ASDHigh children expressed both food approach (increased food responsiveness and emotional overeating) and avoidant eating behaviours (increased emotional undereating, satiety responsiveness/ slowness in eating and picky eating, and decreased enjoyment in food). ASDHigh children were more food avoidant, while ADHDHigh children had more food approach behaviours and greater BMIz. ADHDHigh and BMIz were indirectly associated with food responsiveness and emotional overeating. Conclusions: ADHD and autistic trait phenotypes show distinct associations with potential obesity risk factors, and further research is needed to improve targeted early intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12951
JournalPediatric obesity
Volume17
Issue number11
Early online date24 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Youth and Families. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska‐Curie grant agreement (No. 707404 to HAH). The opinions expressed in this document reflect only the author's view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. The current study was also made possible by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (Mental Health Care Research Program, Fellowship 636320005 to PWJ). All sources of support had no involvement or restrictions regarding the current manuscript.

Funding Information:
The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Youth and Families. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement (No. 707404 to HAH). The opinions expressed in this document reflect only the author's view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. The current study was also made possible by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (Mental Health Care Research Program, Fellowship 636320005 to PWJ). All sources of support had no involvement or restrictions regarding the current manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity Federation.

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