Special Issue "Autism and Nutrition Proposal"
A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018
Increased evidence suggests children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at increased risk for feeding and related dietary concerns compared to children without ASD. Food selectivity—characterized by eating a limited repertoire of food—is the most frequently documented feeding problem in ASD. Common dietary patterns in children with ASD often include strong preference for processed foods, snacks and starches coinciding with more frequent rejection of fruits and vegetables. Food selectivity in ASD is associated with a number of detrimental outcomes—including poor nutrient intake, increased parental stress, and problematic mealtime behaviors. Children with ASD and food selectivity frequently display disruptive behavior—including crying, throwing objects, and aggression—when presented with novel or non-preferred feeding demands. Not surprising, parents of affected children often identify mealtime as a source of strain on the family, describing meals as stressful, chaotic, and energy depleting. Food selectivity may also lead to nutritional deficiency syndromes not frequently encounters in the general pediatric population, including cases involving scurvy, rickets, and vision loss in extreme cases. Much remains unknown, however, regarding the cause, consequence, and remediation of feeding difficulties in ASD. This includes important questions regarding the relative contribution of enhanced risk for gastrointestinal pathology (e.g., immune abnormalities, mucosal barrier dysfunction, and/or disruptions in the gut microbiome) in this population. Children with ASD also experience elevated risk of obesity compared with children without ASD; however, the role of diet and food selectivity to overweight and obesity in ASD is not well understood. Together, there is a clear need for research to address critical questions about the likely inter-relationship between feeding problems, GI symptoms, and/or nutritional concerns in ASD.
The objective of this Special Issue on “Autism and Nutrition” is to showcase state-of-the-art research focusing on feeding, dietary, nutritional status, and GI functioning in children with ASD. Topics of interest include the areas of assessment, characterization, prevention, and intervention. Selected papers may also include investigations of potential biological underpinnings (e.g., the gut microbiome), as well as associated complications (e.g., obesity). The Special Issue is intended to provide a contemporary summary of current knowledge while providing guidance for future research in the field.
Dr. William G. Sharp
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Food Selectivity
- Mealtime Difficulties
- Nutrient Deficiency