Latest News » Report shows need for greater investment in autism nutrition

Some autistic children may be resistant to proper nutrition.

Caring for a child with autism can be an incredibly challenging, though undeniably rewarding experience. This developmental disorder may present itself in several different forms, depending on where a child falls on the autism spectrum, among other factors. However, one commonality that is shared by most individuals with autism is the tendency to have loud outbursts – particularly if a routine is disrupted.

Recently, researchers from Emory University in Georgia published an analysis of how certain behaviors associated with this condition may make it challenging for people with autism to obtain the nutrients they need – including calcium and protein. By reviewing previous studies on autism nutrition, the academics involved in this endeavor found that children with the developmental disorder may be more susceptible to deficiencies that could impair their healthy physical and mental growth and lead to severe medical complications later in life.

A press release on the report lists “extreme tantrums during meals, severe food selectivity and ritualistic mealtime behaviors” as some of the chronic feeding problems among children with autism.

“Despite the risk of long-term medical issues, as well as frequent caregiver concern regarding the quality of their child’s diet, feeding problems are often overlooked in relation to other areas of clinical and research concern in the autism population,” said behavioral pediatric psychologist William Sharp.

According to the Autism Society, roughly 1 percent of children in the United States have some form of the developmental condition. Based on these findings, Sharp and his research team expressed the hope that this analysis, which highlights how widespread feeding issues are in the autism community, will lead to further research that will address the challenges of providing well-balanced diets for children with autism.