This study examined the effects of a 48-week exercise-based intervention on the metabolic profile, autism traits, and perceived quality of life in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We randomly allocated 64 children with ASD (aged 6-12 years) to experimental ( n = 46) and control groups ( n = 18) and used multilevel regression modeling to examine responses to receiving or not receiving the intervention. The experimental group showed beneficial effects on metabolic indicators (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and total cholesterol), autism traits, and parent-perceived quality of life. Our results provide support for exercise and physical activity, including basic coordination and strength exercises, as important therapeutic interventions for children with ASD.
Keywords: ASD; developmental disorders; mental health; multilevel modeling; obesity; psychometric tests.