A new study has found that children with autism are more likely to develop childhood obesity

A new study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University and five other research centers have found that children with autism and other developmental disorders are much more likely to be overweight or obese. The study focused on children between two and five years old and included almost 2,500 children. The results of the study were published recently in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Autism and ObesityThe authors of the report say that this is the first study of its kind which shows that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other young children with developmental disorders or delays face significantly higher risks of becoming obese or overweight. The more severe the symptoms or, the higher the level of impairment is, the higher the risks are.

The research from this study can be used by both health providers and parents to better educate people about the potential health risks facing children with ASD. The study found that children who had autism were as much as 57% more likely to become overweight or obese than those that don’t have autism. While those with ASD symptoms were 70% more likely than their neurotypical peers to suffer from excessive weight. Children with other developmental delays or disorders such as Down syndrome, ADHD, and speech delays among others were 38% more likely to suffer weight problems.

These findings make it clear that monitoring these children for excess weight gain at an early age is critical, and that prevention efforts should be expanded to include not just children with ASD, but those with other developmental diagnoses as well,said Susan E. Levy, the lead study author and medical director of the Center for Autism Research at CHOP.