Perspectives on the nutritional ecology of autistic children

J Autism Dev Disord. 1986 Jun;16(2):133-43. doi: 10.1007/BF01531725.


Dietary intake was assessed in a sample population of 40 autistic and 34 control children with a 7-day diet record kept by the parent or primary caregiver. A questionnaire was completed by each participant to obtain descriptive data on nutrition and health issues, attitudes and beliefs about nutrition, and nutrition knowledge. The autistic children had significantly greater intake of all nutrients with the exception of vitamins A and C, and fat; overall adequacy of diets was similar for both groups. Parent/primary caregivers of autistic children reported a more positive belief in the relationship between diet and behavior, and a more positive attitude about the importance of nutrition. A higher incidence of food cravings, pica, and perceived eating problems were reported by the parent/caregivers of autistic children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Autistic Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology
  • Child Care
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*