Autism, Obesity and Weight Loss

Dr Carol Curtin's study showed that 1 in 5 children with autism are overweight. Other studies have shown that children with autism are 2.2 times more likely to be overweight and 4.8 times to be obese when compared to non-autistic (control) children. Helping a child with autism lose weight is not easy. People with ASD face difficulties around their diet. Overeating and weight gain is common. Why do autistic children overeat? One reason has to do with their inability to know when they are full, which has been suggested to be a result of their food intake regulation center in their hypothalamus not working. Another reason may be food obsession and cravings for certain foods.

Diet can induce certain autism symptoms, such as aggressiveness and hyperactivity. This is why the Autism Research Institute has recommended a special diet for autistic people, known as the GFCF diet. The Paleo Diet, an effective weight loss program, may be beneficial for people diagnosed with autism because it eliminates the same foods that the GFCF diet prohibits. The Paleo Diet also emphasizes low carbohydrate intake.

Usually, without their family's love and support, autistic people cannot achieve a healthy lifestyle. Many nutritionists suggest a diet that is relatively high in protein and low in carbohydrates. But the key is small portion sizes.

Two weight loss programs that may be considered are Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. This page offers more information.

Research has shown that children with autism may be deficient in certain nutrients, including fiber, protein and essential fatty acids. Autism supplements can be purchased online from Vitacost. More in this article.