Prevalence and Health Correlates of Overweight and Obesity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Meredith L. Dreyer Gillette, Kelsey B. Borner, Cy B. Nadler, Katrina M. Poppert, Cathleen Odar Stough, Rebecca Swinburne Romine, Ann M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be at increased risk for overweight and obesity, but little information is known about correlates of overweight and obesity in this population. This study compared prevalence rates of parent-reported overweight and obesity and specific health behaviors (i.e., parent report of child sleep, family meal patterns, child screen time, and child physical activity) among children with ASD (N more than 900 [weighted to represent 690,000; age 10-17]) compared with children without ASD using data from a nationally representative sample. Additionally, the relationship between specific health behaviors (i.e., child sleep, family meals, screen time, and physical activity) and weight status was examined in the ASD population. Data were from the National Survey of Children's Health 2011-2012. Results indicate that children with ASD were more likely to be obese but not more likely to be overweight than non-ASD youth. Children with ASD engaged in physical activity less than children without ASD, but no differences were found on sleep, most measures of screen time, and mealtimes. However, parent perceived poorer sleep was associated with increased weight status, and fewer family meals were associated with normal weight status among children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 12 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • health correlates
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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