Inattention and hyperactivity in children at risk of obesity: A community cross-sectional study
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OBJECTIVE: There is a link between the symptoms of hyperactivity/inattention and overweight in children. Less is known about the factors which might influence this relationship, such as physical and sedentary activity levels or exercise self-efficacy. The aim of this study is to examine the associations between the symptoms of hyperactivity/inattention and risk factors for adult obesity in a sample of children with barriers to exercise.DESIGN: Children aged 9-11 years were recruited from 24 primary schools that participated in the Steps to Active Kids (STAK) physical activity intervention study. Study inclusion criteria were low exercise self-efficacy, teacher-rated overweight or asthma. Children with high levels of physical activity were excluded. Measures included parent and teacher-rated behavioural and emotional well-being using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, physical and sedentary activity levels, BMI (body mass index) and exercise self-efficacy.RESULTS: Of 424 participating children, 62% were girls and 39% were classified as overweight or obese. As compared with population norms, boys in this at-risk sample were more likely to receive an abnormal teacher-rated hyperactivity/inattention score (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.17). Children with teacher-rated abnormal hyperactivity/inattention scores reported higher levels of sedentary activity (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.17), but not physically active activity. The pattern of findings was similar for children with hyperactivity/inattention problems as rated by both parent and teacher (pervasive hyperactivity and impairment).CONCLUSIONS: Although BMI was not directly related to hyperactivity/inattention, children with risk factors for adult obesity have more hyperactivity/inattention problems. In particular, hyperactivity/inattention is associated with higher levels of sedentary activity. Higher rates of pervasive hyperactivity and impairment were apparent in this at-risk group.