Document Type : Original article


1 Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of Gastroenterology, School of medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Nutrition, School of medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Children with ASD are at risk of nutritional problems that could impact growth and anthropometric indices over both the short and long term. The aim of present study was to determine prevalence of malnutrition and other factors related to the malnutrition among children and adolescent with autism disorder.
Material and method:
To assess the prevalence of malnutrition indicators among preschool children with ASD, a cross-sectional study was conducted among 81 children and adolescents who referred to subspecialized and specialized Autism Akbar Children‘s Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran. Weight and height measurements were assessed based on standard protocols. The z-score of anthropometric indices was determined for all participants. Participants were asked about nutritional problems by the interview from their parents.
In the current study, the mean ± SD of age was 10.1±3.7 years old. Among participants 3.7% were with Diarrhea, 33.3% with Constipation, 4.9% with Reflux, 3.7% with Flatulence, and 1.2% with Steatorrhea. The prevalence of both of food neophobia and food Allergy was 16%. Furthermore, 18.5% had poor appetite, 23.5% had moderate and 58% had good appetite. Based on standardized z-scores, the overall prevalence of under-weight, risk of overweight, overweight, and obese was 1.2%, 22.2%, 12.3%, and 7.4%, respectively. Among participants 4.9% was stunting.

Based on aforementioned prevalence, improving nutritional problems and anthropometric indices among ASD children and adolescents are crucial issue.