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obesity-linked-to-autismObesity and Autism

An alarming recent study is suggesting that autism and obesity are related.  In fact, even developmental delays appear to be more prevalent in children born to overweight women.  And many women that have extra pounds also have diabetes, which appears to play into the child's development, making the discovery even more complicated.  So how can this be?  The study is based on a survey of children with autism and developmental delays.  Experts have been long researching any "link" or commonality that children with autism have in common.  And the more we learn, the better.

Autism- Obesity Study

  • The research was based on childrens' brain development from different conditions that make women more likely to gain weight, according to the survey.  High blood pressure and diabetes were common in mothers who gave birth to children with autism, as well.  The study, though intriguing,  does not all out show that obesity causes autism, but researchers say it is notable, given the rising rates of obesity in Americans.
  • Most notable is that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out an estimate that one in every 88 children has autism, or a related disorder.  And this estimate is up 25 percent from the center's 2006 report.  The study focused on children, ages two to five, who were already involved in a study at UC Davis and born in California.  Here are the results of the survey:
  • Out of 1004 children, 517 had autism of some magnitude and 172 had other delays developmentally.  The children were retested to confirm the diagnoses by the UC Davis MIND Institute.
  • Asperger's Syndrome, known as a milder form of autism qualifies as a "spectrum" disorder of autism.  And impairments mimicking autism brain issues were considered "developmental delays" in the children studied.

Autism, Obesity and Diabetes

Women with type 2 or gestational diabetes gave birth to 48 autistic children.  Obese mothers gave birth to 111 babies, while mothers with high blood pressure or another sort of metabolic condition, gave birth to 148 children.

For children with developmental delays, 20 were born to mothers with Type 2 or gestational diabetes, 41 children to mothers who were obese and 60 to a mother with any metabolic condition.

Also notable is that almost 60 percent of women in the US of childbearing age are overweight, and one third are considered obese with 16 percent having metabolic syndrome.  Metabolic syndrome produces high blood pressure and diabetes symptoms.

Symptoms of Autism

Different Behavior.  Specific routines and rituals need to be adhered to in the autistic child.  Failure to keep things consistent with them results in disturbed behavior; they will become very upset.  Autistic children also need to keep moving at all times, can be especially sensitive to sound and light.  Additionally they can become mesmerized with the smallest of objects. 

Language Skills Delayed.  The autistic child either talks later than 2 years of age or loses ability to speak previously learned language.  The child's intonation may also sound different when talking and may repeat words over and over again.

Children with autism seem to live in their own little worlds, wanting to play by themselves, not making eye contact and unwilling to let you hold and cuddle them. They also may not answer you when you call their name and have trouble understanding others feelings.

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