Nutrient Intake From Food in Children With Autism

Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 5.47). 11/2012; 130(Supplement):S145-S153. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-0900L


The impact of abnormal feeding behaviors reported for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) on their nutritional status is unknown. We compared nutrient intake from food consumed by children with and without ASD and examined nutrient deficiency and excess.

Prospective 3-day food records and BMI for children (2-11 years) with ASD participating in the Autism Treatment Network (Arkansas, Cincinnati, Colorado, Pittsburgh, and Rochester) were compared with both the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data and a matched subset based on age, gender, family income, and race/ethnicity (N = 252 analyzed food records).

Children with ASD and matched controls consumed similar amounts of nutrients from food. Only children with ASD aged 4 to 8 years consumed significantly less energy, vitamins A and C, and the mineral Zn; and those 9 to 11 years consumed less phosphorous. A greater percentage of children with ASD met recommendations for vitamins K and E. Few children in either group met the recommended intakes for fiber, choline, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and potassium. Specific age groups consumed excessive amounts of sodium, folate, manganese, zinc, vitamin A (retinol), selenium, and copper. No differences were observed in nutritional sufficiency of children given restricted diets. Children aged 2 to 5 years with ASD had more overweight and obesity, and children 5 to 11 years had more underweight.

Children with ASD, like other children in America, consume less than the recommended amounts of certain nutrients from food. Primary care for all children should include nutritional surveillance and attention to BMI.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background and objectives: Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often have food selectivity and restricted diets, putting them at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Previous studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of iron deficiency (ID) in children with ASDs living in Wales, Canada, and Turkey. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of ID and the adequacy of iron intake in children with ASD in the United States. Methods: Participants (age 2-11 years recruited from the Autism Treatment Network Diet and Nutrition Study) completed a 3-day diet record (n = 368) and had laboratory measures of serum ferritin (SF), complete blood count, iron, total iron binding capacity, and transferrin saturation (TS) (n = 222). Results: Of the 222 participants with laboratory data, 18 (8%) had SF <12 µg/L and 2 (1%) had ID defined by both low SF and TS (3 children with low SF had missing TS data). One subject had iron deficiency anemia. Fewer than 2% of subjects had iron intake below the estimated average requirement. Conclusions: Although the determination of iron status is complex, these data do not support previous reports that children with ASD are at greater risk for ID than the general population; however, 8% percent of the sample did demonstrate low SF despite <2% of the sample demonstrating iron intake below the estimated average requirement. The prevalence of low SF may be an underestimate, because SF is an acute phase reactant and the study included no measure of inflammation.
    PEDIATRICS 11/2012; 130(Supplement):S154-S159. DOI:10.1542/peds.2012-0900M · 5.47 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although applied behavior analysts often say they engage in evidence-based practice, they express differing views on what constitutes "evidence" and "practice." This article describes a practice as a service offered by a provider to help solve a problem presented by a consumer. Solving most problems (e.g., increasing or decreasing a behavior and maintaining this change) requires multiple intervention procedures (i.e., a package). Single-subject studies are invaluable in investigating individual procedures, but researchers still need to integrate the procedures into a package. The package must be standardized enough for independent providers to replicate yet flexible enough to allow individualization; intervention manuals are the primary technology for achieving this balance. To test whether the package is effective in solving consumers' problems, researchers must evaluate outcomes of the package as a whole, usually in group studies such as randomized controlled trials. From this perspective, establishing an evidence-based practice involves more than analyzing the effects of discrete intervention procedures on behavior; it requires synthesizing information so as to offer thorough solutions to problems. Recognizing the need for synthesis offers behavior analysts many promising opportunities to build on their existing research to increase the quality and quantity of evidence-based practices.
    The Behavior analyst / MABA 03/2013; 36(1):7-33. · 1.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An argument is put forward for environmental modulators of photolabile or photosynthetic vitamins mediating autism risk via a complex downstream interaction of genetic/epigenetic phenomena that provide an explanation for seasonality in this and other developmentally originated disorders.
    Medical Hypotheses 04/2013; 80(6). DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2013.03.003 · 1.07 Impact Factor
Show more