Unusual eating patterns linked to overweight or underweight in children with autism. More research needed on diet and weight issues in adults.
By Lirio Sobrevinas-Covey, Ph.D.
Researchers have found that children with autism are more likely to be overweight or underweight compared to the general child population. Unusual dietary patterns and decreased opportunities for physical activity may be contributory factors to being overweight. Selective eating patterns, limited food repertoire, fear of eating new or unfamiliar foods, hypersensitivity, and other mealtime behavior issues may be contributory factors to being underweight.
Whether it results in being overweight or underweight, unusual dietary patterns may result in the child’s being malnourished and requiring of nutritional supplements or fortified foods to ensure that they fully meet dietary guidelines.
These findings imply the importance of diagnosing autism spectrum disorders as early as possible and the development of effective nutritional strategies consistently applied during the person’s lifetime.
Comment: Thus far, research has focused on the dietary needs of children with autism. As these children age, and the number of middle-aged and elderly people with autism spectrum disorders inevitably grow, there is a need for autism research to focus on the nutritional needs of these adult populations as well.
Excerpted from: "Review examines nutritional issues related to autism spectrum disorder", Science Daily. July 15, 2015. The American Society for Nutrition"