Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


Dietary Patterns and Body Mass Index in Children with Autism and Typically Developing Children

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Department of Pediatrics; Center for Health Policy and Research; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Child Development Disorders, Pervasive; Body Mass Index; Food Habits


Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Medical Nutrition | Pediatrics | Psychiatry and Psychology


To determine whether dietary patterns (juice and sweetened non-dairy beverages, fruits, vegetables, fruits and vegetables, snack foods, and kid's meals) and associations between dietary patterns and body mass index (BMI) differed between 53 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 58 typically developing children, ages 3 to 11, multivariate regression models including interaction terms were used. Children with ASD were found to consume significantly more daily servings of sweetened beverages (2.6 versus 1.7, p=0.03) and snack foods (4.0 versus 3.0, p=0.01) and significantly fewer daily servings of fruits and vegetables (3.1 versus 4.4, p=0.006) than typically developing children. There was no evidence of statistical interaction between any of the dietary patterns and BMI z-score with autism status. Among all children, fruits and vegetables (p=0.004) and fruits alone (p=0.005) were positively associated with BMI z-score in our multivariate models. Children with ASD consume more energy-dense foods than typically developing children; however, in our sample, only fruits and vegetables were positively associated with BMI z-score.

DOI of Published Version



Evans EW, Must A, Anderson SE, Curtin C, Scampini R, Maslin M, Bandini L. Dietary Patterns and Body Mass Index in Children with Autism and Typically Developing Children. Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2012;6(1):399-405. PubMed PMID: 22936951; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3427936. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Research in autism spectrum disorders

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed