Common Risk Factors for Children with ASD and Why it’s Important to get a Dietitian Involved Early.

By February 27, 2020 No Comments

Do you have a family member or know someone who has Autism? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with individuals. Not all people with Autism have the same severity. The level of severity differs between people and not one size fits all approach is suitable, similar to any dietary management.

As dietitians, our goal is to provide individualised and tailored dietary support, to assist and allow individuals to live to their greatest potential, within their own limitations. This blog highlights some of the most common nutrition associated issues amongst those with ASD.


  • Higher rates of overweight and obesity found within the US for those with ASD.

Gastrointestinal Problems

  • Increased likelihood of constipation, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, soiling.
  • More than 50% likely that those with ASD will have some form of gastrointestinal related symptoms.


  • According to a study in 2011 by Zimmer et al., 22 children with ASD and selective eating were significantly more likely than typical controls to be at risk of at least one serious nutrient deficiency based on dietary intake.
  • The most common deficiencies identified with ASD include Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium and Vitamin B12.

Reasons for the above nutritional related issues are multifaceted. Given that characteristics of ASD include fussy/selective eating, overeating and eating disorders, it is likely that these would play a heavy influence in any of the above. Having tailored Dietitian support integrated into management early can help to prevent deficiencies and overweight/obesity by including strategies to manage these common issues.



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