Masters Thesis

Assessing Nutrition Barriers and Childhood Obesity Factors Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Poor nutrition content is a significant contributor to global morbidity and mortality. Low- and middle- income families have struggle to access nutritious food being this a burden to their well-being. Inefficient food portions, lack of physical activity, and insufficient macronutrients intake are the main source of obesity at any age leading to poorer health outcomes and reduced quality of life. Efforts to change those eating behaviors, have led to serious medical conditions developmentally affecting generations. Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may have certain food factors and patterns that affect their health overtime. This literature review examined the impact of nutrition and obesity in children with ASD and found three domains of influence: physical activity barriers and inclusion, food selectivity and sensory sensitivity, and nutrition variable and inadequacy. Although many factors such as food selection and physical activity limitations can be thought to be contributors to obesity rates in ASD children, not enough evidence is compelling enough to ‘label’ any of these factors to be the causal.