Children with autism face higher obesity risk

  • Kahathuduwa CN & al.
  • Obes Rev
  • 8 Oct 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • More than one-fifth of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were obese, and risk was higher than that of peers without ASD, especially for certain subgroups.

Why this matters

Key results

  • Prevalences among children with ASD:
    • Overweight and obesity combined: 37.0%.
    • Obesity alone: 22.2%.
  • Compared with unaffected children, children with ASD:
    • Did not have significantly elevated risk for overweight and obesity combined (relative risk, 1.185; P=.159).
    • Had significantly elevated risk for obesity alone (relative risk, 1.411; P=.018).
  • Link between ASD and overweight or obesity was stronger for children who:
    • Were of non-Caucasian race,
    • Were older,
    • Were female, and
    • Lived in the United States.

Study design

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis of 35 studies among children aged 2-18 years:
    • 54,913 with ASD.
    • 254,593 without ASD.
  • Main outcomes: overweight (BMI ≥85th and
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Limitations

  • Exclusion of studies in which only mean BMI was reported, in which alternate definitions of overweight, obesity were used.
  • Only fair quality of 16 studies.
  • Some data came from interventional trials, potentially biasing population.
  • Heterogeneity of effect sizes.

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