Food preferences and eating behavior among children with autism spectrum disorder: A causal-comparative study in Lahore

Minahil Amin, Syeda Iqra Faiyaz, Muhammad Salman Butt, Javeria Saleem

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Abstract

This study aims to compare the eating behaviors, food preferences, and body mass index of children with and without Autism residing in Lahore, Pakistan. The study participants were aged 5-12 years, and were divided into two groups: 60 children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 120 typically developing (TD) school children. The sample was drawn from three Autism schools and three private schools through the purposive sampling technique. Data regarding the participants’ basic personal history, food preferences, and eating behavior were obtained from their parents using a self- administered structured questionnaire. BMI for age percentiles of the children was obtained from standard charts, based on their height and weight measurements. Among participants with Autism, 46.7% were obese, compared to 23.3% of the participants without Autism. Children with Autism exhibited a significantly greater degree of limited variety (U= 2797.000, p= 0.009) and food refusal (U= 1586.000, p= 0.000) as compared to children without Autism. Greater preference for food in the vegetable group was related to a higher BMI for the age percentile, for children with Autism (r = 0.327, p = 0.011). A p-value < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Children with Autism exhibited selective eating and food refusal to a greater degree than children without Autism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAvicenna
Early online date17 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • autism
  • food refusal
  • food selectivity
  • feeding behavior
  • mealtime issues
  • physical status

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