Research Links Obesity with Autism


Obesity is more prevalent among autistic children during adolescence in comparison to those without it, according to a study carried out by a team of researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine. The researchers are of the same opinion on the fact that ASD could have significant health consequences for a child in the long run.

To the already known facts about autism, the study adds that while there is a possibility of the figures of obesity showing a downward trend in adolescence in case of children who haven’t been diagnosed with autism during their childhood, those on the spectrum are more likely to remain obese during their teenage. The team of researchers drew the conclusion by taking into account, the data of National Survey of Children’s Health for the period 2011-2012.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that not only arrests the mental development of children, but also gives rise to some peculiar personality traits that are typical to autistic children. As a result, they face serious challenges in their social life, and find it relatively difficult to communicate or integrate with other people in society. It oftentimes jinxes the lives of people who are patients with it.

Advanced research on autism indicates that it develops in children between 1-3 years of age i.e. during the early phase of development. After the onset, it becomes more complex with the passage of time and affects patients with varying degrees of severity. Another aspect of the disorder is that it is chronic, meaning that it remains for the lifetime.

Research on ASD is still in progress to gain an insight into its causes. However, researchers have been successful in isolating certain environmental barriers which may trigger the neurodevelopmental disorder. Some of the factors include certain environmental barriers, natal and prenatal factors. The hereditary angle pertaining to autism is also being looked at.

The symptoms of autism center around intellectual disabilities, coupled with behavioral challenges. The term “spectrum” underscores the fact that those who are on it, get affected in different ways that broadly relate to the same problem.

Although health interventions are helpful, they don’t always prove to be effective when provided to children with developmental disorders, ASD in particular. The complexities surrounding their medical needs demand special medical care.

The study included nearly 44,000 people belonging to 10-17 year age-group. Aspects such as age, height, gender, race, socioeconomic status were also considered while conducting the study.

According to the overall observation of the data of about 44,000 candidates, 23% children and adolescents with autism were obese against 14% without autism. The rate of obesity showed 50% decline among those who didn’t have autism, compared to the ones who were diagnosed with autism in their childhood.

The strong probability to obesity among autistic children could be due to the lack of physical exercise, as in most cases such children don’t show interest in participating in sports that involve physical activity. Besides, their tendency to have certain foods, can also be a reason for it.

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