The Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey: Comparisons with Obesity and Physical Activity in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2023 Jan;53(1):89-95. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-05415-9. Epub 2022 Jan 4.


Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at a heightened risk for obesity. Family-level measures of nutrition and physical activity may help explain factors contributing to disproportionate rates of weight gain. Twenty adolescents with ASD participated in baseline testing for a study to assess the feasibility of remotely-delivered yoga. Parents completed the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity (FNPA) survey and anthropometrics and physical activity were assessed in the adolescents. A median split was applied to the FNPA score to create high and low obesogenic environments and nonparametric O'Brien's multiple endpoint tests were used to evaluate the differences. Between-group differences were found in anthropometrics (p = 0.01) but not physical activity (p = 0.72). Implications for a multifaceted family-based approach to obesity prevention are discussed.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Body Mass Index; Diet; Exercise; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity
  • Parents