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Updated 22 May 2014

Eating issues tied to autism

These feeding problems can lead to nutritional deficiencies, expert says.

Children with autism are five times more likely than other kids to have feeding issues, such as being especially picky eaters or having ritualistic behaviours or extreme tantrums during meals, new research finds.

Healthy eating promotes a child's growth and development, and mealtimes provide important opportunities for children to socialise, the researchers noted. Chronic feeding troubles increase a child's risk for problems such as malnutrition, poor growth, social difficulties and poor school performance.

How the study was done

"It not only highlights the importance of assessing mealtime concerns as part of routine health care screenings, but also suggests the need for greater focus on diet and nutrition in the autism community," added Sharp, who also is a behavioural pediatric psychologist in the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta.

The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about autism.

 
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