Para ver en español: Nutrición
Disclaimer: This summary is based off of research conducted by Autism Treatment Network members. It is not a summary of the entire body of research literature available on this subject.
Like many kids in the US, those with ASD often eat less healthy food than they should . Over half of children with ASD (56%) take vitamins to make up for this. Unfortunately, the multivitamins often have the vitamins and minerals that kids are already getting enough of . This leads to kids having too much of some vitamins and not enough of others. Even when kids take multivitamins, parents should watch how much vitamin D and calcium their child eats because both vitamins are important for bone health .
The strength and thickness of the bone (bone density) at the hip and lower back of boys with ASD is lower than in boys without ASD. Boys with autism and boys without autism are about the same size and weight, but boys with autism get less exercise than boys without autism. To help make bones stronger all kids with ASD need more exercise and need more protein (meats), calcium (milk products and leafy greens), and phosphorus (meats, milk, beans, and nuts).
Another important nutrient for children is iron because irons helps the body use oxygen and grow properly. Children with ASD are not more likely to be iron deficient than those without ASD , but it is still important to look for signs of iron deficiency. Signs include being more tired than usual, feeling dizzy and having skin that is more pale and dry than usual.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHILD/TEENAGER?
WHAT ARE SOME FOODS THAT CONTAIN THESE VITAMINS?
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF A CHILD NOT GETTING ENOUGH VITAMINS?
WHAT SHOULD A PARENT DO?
Take your findings to your next appointment. All children and teenagers with ASD need to eat healthy foods and get enough vitamins to grow and your doctor can help identify vitamins and foods that can help your child with autism be healthier. To learn more about individual manuscripts referenced, please click on the title of the article (in dark blue) in the reference section below.