ADHD News & Research

Study: Risk for Diabetes 50% Higher for Adults with ADHD

A diagnosis of ADHD increased the likelihood of diabetes by as much as 50% for adults with ADHD, according to a recent study from the National Health Interview Survey that found the strong correlation independent of BMI.

October 23, 2020

Adults with ADHD face a significantly elevated risk for diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Diabetes1 that confirms similar research linking diabetes and ADHD. The study reported that adults with ADHD were 50% more likely to have diabetes than were their non-ADHD counterparts.

Researchers reviewed the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data from 2007-2012, focusing on adults aged 20 to 79. ADHD and diabetes were reported at in-person household interviews. The odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of diabetes were estimated using logistic regression with survey sampling weights.

1,642 of the 52,821 participants confirmed a diagnosis of ADHD and 4,631 said they had been diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers adjusted for age, sex and ethnicity, and found that participants diagnosed with ADHD were more likely to have diabetes compared with those without ADHD (OR = 1.68; 95% CI, 1.23-2.28). Adults diagnosed with ADHD “were still more likely to have diabetes after education, family income, smoking status, alcohol drinking, physical activity, and BMI were factored in (OR = 1.54; 95 CI, 1.16-2.04).” This relationship between ADHD and diabetes was not influenced by age, sex, ethnicity or obesity status.

The researchers concluded that this finding “indicates that ADHD may be a novel risk factor for diabetes,” and “If this finding is replicated and confirmed in future studies, individuals with ADHD may warrant early screening and prevention for diabetes.”2


1Xu, Guifeng, et al. Association of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with diabetes mellitus in US adults. Journal of Diabetes (Oct. 2020)

2Monostra, Michael. ADHD increases odds of diabetes independent of BMI. Healio (Oct. 2020)