Autism and Obesity

Medical records find evidence linking autism to obesity.

At least one in every three children and adolescents with autism is overweight or obese, finds a survey of nearly 3,000 individuals with the disorder.

The report, published in the July-August issue of Academic Pediatrics, points to a need for diet and exercise programs that are tailored for people with autism.

Preventing obesity and overweight has critical implications for the health and quality of life of people with autism, says lead investigator Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and research fellow with Harvard Pediatric Health Services. “I worry that if a kid has autism and goes to the doctor, [weight issues] might not be addressed because other issues are addressed,” she says.

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