Risk Factors for Unhealthy Weight Gain and Obesity among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by social and communication deficits and repetitive behaviors. Children with ASD are also at a higher risk for developing overweight or obesity than children with typical development (TD). Childhood obesity has been associated with adverse health outcomes, including insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Importantly some key factors that play a mediating role in these higher rates of obesity include lifestyle factors and biological influences, as well as secondary comorbidities and medications. This review summarizes current knowledge about behavioral and lifestyle factors that could contribute to unhealthy weight gain in children with ASD, as well as the current state of knowledge of emerging risk factors such as the possible influence of sleep problems, the gut microbiome, endocrine influences and maternal metabolic disorders. We also discuss some of the clinical implications of these risk factors and areas for future research.

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publication date

  • July 4, 2019