Objective: To estimate the prevalence of overweight in children identified with developmental disorders on the basis of nationally representative survey data.
Study design: We estimated the prevalence of overweight in children with developmental disorders on the basis of a recent large nationally representative survey. The continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002 included 4 questions to identify children with developmental disorders. Height and weight were used to calculate body mass index (BMI). BMI percentiles were estimated relative to the age- and sex-specific Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth reference. The 85th percentile BMI defined at-risk-for-overweight and the 95th percentile BMI defined overweight.
Results: We found a higher prevalence of at-risk-for overweight and overweight among children with limitations in physical activity and a higher prevalence of overweight in girls with learning disabilities, compared with children without these conditions, after adjustment for age and race-ethnicity.
Conclusion: To the extent that children with developmental disorders are included in large representative surveys, the data suggest that children with developmental disorders have a risk for overweight that is at least as great as that of typically developing children.