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Nutrients 2018, 10(12), 1867; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121867

Early History, Mealtime Environment, and Parental Views on Mealtime and Eating Behaviors among Children with ASD in Florida

1
College of Public Health, University of South Florida, 13201 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
2
Center for Autism & Related Disabilities and Department of Child and Family Studies, University of South Florida, 13301 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
3
Department of Pediatrics, University of South Florida, 13101 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 2 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism and Nutrition Proposal)
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Abstract

This study was a cross-sectional study to examine problematic mealtime behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Florida. Forty-one parents completed a 48-item survey. The mean age of their children was 8.1 years and 73% were male. The data were divided and compared by age group: Ages 2–6, 7–11, and 12–17. Data from the 3- to 6-year-old children were extracted and compared with the references from Provost et al. (2010). There were age differences in eating difficulties at home (p = 0.013), fast food restaurants (p = 0.005), and at regular restaurants (p = 0.016). The total mealtime behavior score was significantly higher in early childhood (p < 0.001) and mid-childhood (p = 0.005) than adolescents. More parents of ages 3–6 with ASD reported difficulties with breastfeeding (p < 0.01); concerns about eating (p < 0.001); difficulties related to mealtime locations (p < 0.05), craving certain food (p < 0.05), and being picky eaters (p < 0.01) compared to typically developing children. The total mealtime behavior score was significantly higher in children with ASD than typically developing children (p < 0.001). The results indicate that early childhood interventions are warranted and further research in adolescents is needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; mealtime behavior; children; diet; feeding behavior autism spectrum disorder; mealtime behavior; children; diet; feeding behavior
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Gray, H.L.; Sinha, S.; Buro, A.W.; Robinson, C.; Berkman, K.; Agazzi, H.; Shaffer-Hudkins, E. Early History, Mealtime Environment, and Parental Views on Mealtime and Eating Behaviors among Children with ASD in Florida. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1867.

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