In a new study, researchers found that children with autism spectrum disorders had a 41.1% higher risk of developing obesity than children without autism.
They found that on average, 22 out of 100 children with autism have obesity.
The research was conducted by a team from Texas Tech University.
Previous studies have suggested that autism spectrum disorders seem to increase the risk of overweight and obesity.
In the study, the team examined the prevalence and risk of developing overweight or obesity among children with autism in a systematic review.
They found among children with autism spectrum disorders, the prevalence of obesity was 22.2%.
Children with autism had a 41.1% greater risk of development of obesity.
In addition, the team also found that children with autism who were of non-Caucasian race, older in age, female, and living in the United States had especially higher rates of overweight or obesity.
The team says autism spectrum disorders seem to increase the risk of childhood obesity.
Increased awareness of this association may improve the implementation of early interventions to reduce obesity and prevent a decrease in quality‐of‐life in children with autism.
Doctors need to be aware that some treatment decisions may contribute to excessive weight gain in children with autism.
Parents need to be made aware of this greater risk to prevent their children with autism from being victims of obesity and its devastating complications.
The lead author of the study is Chanaka N. Kahathuduwa from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
The study is published in Obesity Reviews.
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