- 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
- Pediatric obesity is associated with comorbidities such as diabetes and depression.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.