If your child with autism is a picky eater, you are not alone. The University of Massachusetts Medical School research cited here found that while all children can be picky, kids with autism had pickier eating habits — just why remained a bit of a mystery (routine? touching food? perhaps the reason is different for each child). What is important here is that poor eating habits can lead to vitamin deficiencies, so read on and get out a pencil and paper:
Poor eating habits affect children with autism
It’s not uncommon for a small child to avoid his vegetables. Most children get past this stage, and understand the importance of a well-balanced diet. For autistic children, however, they may never get passed the picky eating stage. And, this puts them at great nutritional risk.
Dr. Linda Banchini (EK Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston University) got together with her colleagues to find out more. They collected data from the Children’s Activity And Meal Patterns Study (CHAMPS), which asked parents to keep a 3-day food diary and answer questions regarding their childrens eating habits. The study included data on 111 children, 53 of whom were autistic. All children in the study were between the ages of 3 and 11.
Evidence of picky eating habits was found amongst children with autism, and children without. Although, it was worse amongst the children with autism. Not only were the children with autism more picky, but their diets were less diversified. The food diaries revealed that the children with autism were posed to not meet the requirements for vitamins A, C, D, minerals, zinc, and calcium.