New study claims kids with autism more likely to develop eating disorders
Recently, the University College of London conducted a study to find out about the eating habits of children with autism. The results of the study concluded that those with autism are likely to develop eating disorders and hence, parents must be watchful of what and how their child eats.
Over the years, experts and researchers have conducted various studies trying to identify about autism and its traits. A latest study has found out that children under the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are more likely to develop eating disorders. Some studies even highlight that autism and eating disorders can happen together. This latest study calls for need of parents to be more watchful about their child’s eating habits, especially if they are diagnosed with autism.
Importance of the study
In today’s world, most of the parents are less cautious about what their child eats irrespective of whether they have a disability or not. Junk food has taken over nutritious fruits, vegetables and home-cooked meals. That is precisely the reason why many children undergo lifestyle diseases at a very young age.
Dr Vivek Ullattil is a Consultant Psychiatrist from Kerala. He says, “Most of the kids, whether they are disabled or not, is finicky about their food habits. Kids with autism prefer sameness. Overeating need not necessarily be common in children with autism, but can be seen in every other kid. But parents must be watchful”, says Dr Vivek.
He further adds on the importance of giving the child all kinds of food. “Children with autism have certain diet therapies. For instance, they must eat gluten free foods, avoid milk and so on. Give everything to your child in a minimal proportion. Do not avoid everything all together. A homemade diet with lots of nutrition is the key to staying healthy”.
A detailed study about autism and eating disorders
This latest study on autism and eating disorders was conducted by a group of researchers at the University College London (UCL). Autism, along with eating disorders can cause binge-eating and even anorexia nervosa. This has been agreed by doctors worldwide.
Over 5381 children were part of the study. Most of them were between the age group of 11 to 16 years. Those with and without traits of autism were used for the study of which the conclusions were published in ‘Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry’.
Dr Francesca Solmi of UCL Psychiatry is the lead author of the study. In the study she says, “We have found that young children with autistic traits at age seven are more likely than their peers to end up developing eating disorder symptoms in adolescence. Most other studies looked at snapshots in time, rather than tracking people over multiple years, so it wasn’t clear whether autism increases the risk of eating disorders, or if symptoms of eating disorder could sometimes resemble autistic traits”.
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