Dietary Patterns, Eating Behavior, and Nutrient Intakes of Spanish Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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Autism spectrum disorderDisabled childrenFood and nutritionFeeding behavior
Plaza-Diaz, J.; Flores-Rojas, K.; Torre-Aguilar, M.J.d.l.; Gomez-Fernández, A.R.; Martín-Borreguero, P.; Perez-Navero, J.L.; Gil, A.; Gil-Campos, M. Dietary Patterns, Eating Behavior, and Nutrient Intakes of Spanish Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Nutrients 2021, 13, 3551. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13103551
SponsorshipFUNDACIÓ AGRUPACIÓ Àmbit de la Infància, 404 Research Grant INVEST from the Spanish Society of Pediatrics and Red de Salud Materno Infantil (RED SAMID); Research Plan of the Vice-Rectorate of Research and Transfer of the University of Granada, Spain
Eating behavior problems are characteristic of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with a highly restricted range of food choices, which may pose an associated risk of nutritional problems. Hence, detailed knowledge of the dietary patterns (DPs) and nutrient intakes of ASD patients is necessary to carry out intervention strategies if required. The present study aimed to determine the DPs and macro-and micronutrient intakes in a sample of Spanish preschool children with ASD compared to typically developing control children. Fifty-four children with ASD (two to six years of age) diagnosed with ASD according to the Diagnostic Manual-5 criteria), and a control group of 57 typically developing children of similar ages were recruited. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used, and the intake of energy and nutrients was estimated through three nonconsecutive 24-h dietary registrations. DPs were assessed using principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering analysis. Children with ASD exhibited a DP characterized by high energy and fat intakes and a low intake of vegetables and fruits. Likewise, meat intake of any type, both lean and fatty, was associated with higher consumption of fish and dietary fat. Furthermore, the increased consumption of dairy products was associated with increased consumption of cereals and pasta. In addition, they had frequent consumption of manufactured products with poor nutritional quality, e.g., beverages, sweets, snacks and bakery products. The percentages of children with ASD complying with the adequacy of nutrient intakes were higher for energy, saturated fat, calcium, and vitamin C, and lower for iron, iodine, and vitamins of group B when compared with control children. In conclusion, this study emphasizes the need to assess the DPs and nutrient intakes of children with ASD to correct their alterations and discard some potential nutritional diseases.