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    Autism spectrum disorder and food neophobia: clinical and subclinical links

    Wallace, G.W. and Llewellyn, C. and Fildes, A. and Ronald, Angelica (2018) Autism spectrum disorder and food neophobia: clinical and subclinical links. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 108 (4), pp. 701-707. ISSN 0002-9165.

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    Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been linked with eating and feeding related atypicalities , including food neophobia (refusal to try unfamiliar foods) , since its earliest description. Nevertheless, whether associations between ASD traits and food neophobia extend subclinical ly into t he broader population of children and their potential additive health impacts remain unexplored . Objective: We examine d ASD - control group differences in food neophobia and ASD trait - food neophobia trait associations as well as the ability of food neophobia and autistic traits to predict one index of later health - related outcomes (body mass index) . D es ign : Participants in the present study were a large commun ity - based sample of 8 - 11 year old s (n=4,564 ) , including a relatively small group o f children diagnosed with ASD (n =37) . Parents of these 8 - 11 - year - old children completed assessments of food neophobia and autistic traits, as well as providing height and weight metrics at 12 years of age . Results: C hildren with ASD were rated as more food neophobic than their same - age non - ASD peers ( 2.67+/ - 0.83 vs. 2.22 +/ - 0.73; p <.001) and there were subclinical associations between food neophobia and ASD traits (all three of social, communication, and restricted/repetitive behavior) in th is community - based sample of children ( p s<.05) . Moreover, while food neophobia alone predicted lower body mass index, the interaction of food neophobia and ASD traits predicted higher body mass index ( p s < .01) , suggesting that elevated ASD traits in combination with food neophobia exert opposing influences on weight to food neophobia alone . Conclusions: These findings implicate clinical and subclinical connections between ASD traits and feeding behaviors that could impact health outcomes and therefore should be further explored in future studies of shared etiology and intervention strategy.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication following peer review. The version of record is available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): autism, autistic traits, food neophobia, f ood selectivity, picky eating, body mass i ndex
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Angelica Ronald
    Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2018 13:23
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:42


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