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Mental disorders tend to occur at association with obesity and allergic conditions in children and young people.

A study led by researcher from Institute for Culture and Society combines data derived from the analysis of more than 12 million participants and has located the commonality of 10 types of mental disorders and 18 physical illnesses.

/Gonzalo Arrondo, researcher Ramón y Cajal of the University of Navarra.

25 | 05 | 2022

Mental disorders increase the risk of obesity and allergic conditions in children and young people. This has been concluded by a study carried out by international experts and led by Gonzalo Arrondo, researcher Ramón y Cajal of the group 'Mente- Cerebro' del Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra. 

The team has trawled multiple instructions from data to find all previous programs of study on topic and synthesised their findings on the incidence of physical illness in association with mental disorders in children and adolescents. They combined data derived from the analysis of more than 12 million participants. 

The study has found overlap between ten types of mental disorders and 18 physical illnesses, including obesity, asthma, rhinitis and food allergies. The results indicate that there is a association between anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, depression and bipolar disorder and asthma; between ADHD disorders, autism spectrum disorders and depression and obesity; and between autism spectrum disorders and ADHD and dermatitis. 

design of prevention plans and intervention strategies

The results are part of a broader project that assesses whether there is a general factor that predisposes people to both physical and mental illness. This general factor would be a consequence of genetic, environmental or behavioural factors of individuals. 

From agreement with the researchers, these findings could guide further research in this field: knowing the usual association between these conditions, new programs of study could be made to further specify the factors of association between them in order to design more adjusted prevention plans and intervention strategies. 

The work has been published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, a highly respected scientific journal in the fields of behavioural neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and neuropsychology and physiological psychology.

This article is related to the challenge ICS 2022-2023, 'Youth, relationships and psychological well-being'. The challenge is aligned with the Strategy 2025 of the University of Navarra in the section 'Health and Well-being' of the strategic line 'Education Transforming'. The goal of this is to make the University a place where study and work can be combined with a healthy lifestyle, as well as to work together with other university centres and organisations to contribute to promote a culture of health in society.

Gonzalo Arrondo, framework Solmi, Elena Dragioti, Luis Eudave, Maite Ruiz-Goikoetxea, Amaia M. Ciaurriz-Larraz, Sara Magallon, Andre F. Carvalho, Andrea Cipriani, Paolo Fusar-Poli, Henrik Larsson, Christoph U. Correll, Samuele Cortese, Associations between mental and physical conditions in children and adolescents: An umbrella review, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 137, 2022, 104662,