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Odds of Overweight/Obesity Up for Children With Autism

Last Updated: October 29, 2018.

Children with autism spectrum disorder have increased odds of overweight/obesity compared with general population controls after adjustment for child co-occurring conditions, according to a study published online Oct. 9 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

MONDAY, Oct. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have increased odds of overweight/obesity compared with general population controls after adjustment for child co-occurring conditions, according to a study published online Oct. 9 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Susan E. Levy, M.D., M.P.H., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues compared 668 children with ASD, 914 children with developmental delays/disorders, and 884 general population controls using an observational cohort design to examine the correlations between weight status and presence of co-occurring medical, behavioral, developmental, and psychiatric conditions across groups.

The researchers found that compared with general population controls, children with ASD and children with developmental delays/disorders had 1.57 and 1.38 times higher odds of overweight/obesity. After controlling for child co-occurring conditions, the odds were elevated for children with ASD versus general population controls (adjusted odds ratio, 1.51). Among children with ASD, the likelihood of being classified as overweight/obese was 1.7 times higher for those with severe versus those with mild ASD symptoms.

"Although the mechanisms underlying these associations are less well understood, children who receive a diagnosis of ASD or developmental delays/disorders could potentially benefit from enhanced monitoring for the development of obesity and anticipatory guidance for their parents in an effort to prevent obesity," the authors write.

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