Overweight and Obesity: Prevalence and Correlates in a Large Clinical Sample of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and childhood obesity (OBY) are rising public health concerns. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of overweight (OWT) and OBY in a sample of 376 Oregon children with ASD, and to assess correlates of OWT and OBY in this sample. We used descriptive statistics, bivariate, and focused multivariate analyses to determine whether socio-demographic characteristics, ASD symptoms, ASD cognitive and adaptive functioning, behavioral problems, and treatments for ASD were associated with OWT and OBY in ASD. Overall 18.1 % of children met criteria for OWT and 17.0 % met criteria for OBY. OBY was associated with sleep difficulties, melatonin use, and affective problems. Interventions that consider unique needs of children with ASD may hold promise for improving weight status among children with ASD.

In Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders