MEMBERS

If you are a member of the network, please log in to access Network content and tools. If you do not have a username, contact your site principal investigator or site coordinator and request that they complete a membership request for you. If you have forgotten your password, you may CLICK HERE.


AS ATN

You are here

Obesity

Disclaimer: This summary is based on research conducted by Autism Treatment Network (ATN) members. It is not a summary of the entire body of research literature available on this subject.

Disclaimer: This summary is based on research conducted by Autism Treatment Network (ATN) members. It is not a summary of the entire body of research literature available on this subject.

Researchers in the ATN/ AIR-P found that more kids with autism were obese (were heavier than a healthy weight) than kids without autism [1]. Kids with autism often weigh too much earlier in life than kids without autism [2]. This could mean that there are different reasons for gaining weight in kids with and without autism. It is important to understand how to keep kids with autism from becoming too heavy and to take care of health risks from weighing too much [3]. One reason kids with autism may be gaining weight is medications that address behavioral or social problems. A medicine called metformin may help kids who take these medications not gain as much weight [4] [5]. Also kids with autism often get less physical activity (playing, running, climbing, walking, etc.) than kids without autism [6]. More physical activity in general may help kids with autism get to and stay at a healthy weight.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN OBESITY AND AUTISM?

    • More children with autism are obese (heavier than a healthy weight) than children without autism [1].
    • Children with autism often weigh too much earlier in life [2].
  2. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

    • Some medications that are used to help with social and behavior problems can cause kids to gain weight [4] [5].
    • Kids with autism often get less physical activity than kids without autism[6].
  3. WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HELP?

    • Make sure all children get at least some physical activity every day – running, climbing, jumping, walking, playing, etc [6].
    • Be aware of what a healthy weight is for their child.
  4. WHAT CAN HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS DO TO HELP?

    • Metformin can help kids who take medications that cause weight gain to not gain as much weight [4] [5].
    • Talk to families about the side effects of medications and if weight gain is a side effect, help the family monitor the child’s weight on a regular basis.
    • Help the families understand how to keep kids with autism from becoming too heavy and take care of the risks of weighing too much [3].

References