Children with ASD more likely to be overweight, obese
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delays are more likely to be overweight or obese by age 5 years, a recent study has found.
Drawing from the Study to Explore Early Development, researchers enrolled 668 children with ASD (mean age 59.3±6.6 months; 81.6 percent male), 914 with developmental delays/disorders (mean age 59.2±7.2 months; 66.2 percent male) and 884 general population controls (mean age 59.2±7.4 months; 52.3 percent male). Information about co-occurring conditions were obtained from medical records, interviews and questionnaires.
Multivariate logistic regression models showed that children with ASD were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese by age 5 years than general population controls (odds ratio [OR], 1.51; 95 percent CI, 1.14–2.00; p=0.004).
The same was true for children with developmental delays/disorders (OR, 1.27; 1.00–1.62; p=0.047), though this association was attenuated after additional adjustments for medical, behavioural, developmental and/or psychiatric conditions (OR, 1.20; 0.93–1.56; p=0.157).
Stratifying ASD participants according to the severity of the condition, researchers found that those with moderate or severe ASD, as measured by the Ohio State University Autism Rating Scale, were 1.71 (1.06–2.75) times more likely to develop overweight or obesity, as compared to those with only mild condition (p=0.026).
However, when severity was categorized according to the Autism Calibrated Severity Score, no differences in the risk of overweight/obesity were observed.