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Nutritional status of autistic and typically developing children in mumbai

Author: 
Ms. Misbah Samir and Dr. Rita Patil
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a broad term which is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviors. This study aimed to assess the nutritional status of autistic children in Mumbai. The sample size was 100 children between 5-15 years of age. Fifty were autistic and 50 were age and gender matched typically developing children. In each group, there were 37 girls and 13 boys. Anthropometric measurements (Height, weight, BMI, hip circumference, waist circumference and MUAC) of the participants were recorded. The mean weight of autistic children was found to be slightly higher than the control group (29.66±13.51 cm vs. 28.97±11.55 cm).The mean BMI of children in the autistic and control group were 16.54±3.61 kg/m2 and 16.21± 3.21 kg/m2 respectively. The mean waist circumference, hip circumference and MUAC of autistic children was significantly higher as compared to the control group. Greater percentage of autistic children were found to be overweight and obese as compared to typically developing children (38% vs. 18%). The findings suggest that autistic children may be more prone to overweight and obesity as compared to the typically developing children. Also, it was seen that percentage of overweight and obesity in children of both the groups was high in higher family income groups. Regular nutritional assessment and weight monitoring of autistic children is therefore necessary to maintain good nutritional status.

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