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Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2012;6(1):399-405.

Dietary Patterns and Body Mass Index in Children with Autism and Typically Developing Children.

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Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, 150 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111.


To determine whether dietary patterns (juice and sweetened non-dairy beverages, fruits, vegetables, fruits & vegetables, snack foods, and kid's meals) and associations between dietary patterns and body mass index (BMI) differed between 53 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 58 typically developing children, ages 3 to 11, multivariate regression models including interaction terms were used. Children with ASD were found to consume significantly more daily servings of sweetened beverages (2.6 versus 1.7, p=0.03) and snack foods (4.0 versus 3.0, p=0.01) and significantly fewer daily servings of fruits and vegetables (3.1 versus 4.4, p=0.006) than typically developing children. There was no evidence of statistical interaction between any of the dietary patterns and BMI z-score with autism status. Among all children, fruits and vegetables (p=0.004) and fruits alone (p=0.005) were positively associated with BMI z-score in our multivariate models. Children with ASD consume more energy-dense foods than typically developing children; however, in our sample, only fruits and vegetables were positively associated with BMI z-score.

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