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Autism. 2018 Aug 13:1362361318791817. doi: 10.1177/1362361318791817. [Epub ahead of print]

Prevalence of overweight and obesity among US youth with autism spectrum disorder.

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1 University of Delaware, USA.
2 Humboldt State University, USA.
3 Old Dominion University, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine current overweight and obesity prevalence rates among US youth (aged 10-17 years) with and without autism spectrum disorder, based on the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health. Analyses of weight status, derived from parent-reported height and weight measures, were conducted for a weighted sample of 875,963 youth with autism spectrum disorder and 31,913,657 typically developing youth. Controlling for age, race/ethnicity, income, and sex, youth with autism spectrum disorder had significantly higher odds of overweight (odds ratio = 1.48, p = 0.04) and obesity (odds ratio = 1.49, p = 0.02) compared to typically developing youth. Among youth with autism spectrum disorder, 19.4% were overweight and 23.05% were obese. Among typically developing youth, 14.9% were overweight and 15.91% were obese. Higher odds of obesity were reported for youth with severe autism spectrum disorder (odds ratio = 3.35, p < 0.01), compared to those with mild autism spectrum disorder.


developmental disability; disability; health disparities; weight status


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