EXCESS WEIGHT AND GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS IN A GROUP OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN
Revista Paulista de Pediatria
Objective: To evaluate the nutritional status and gastrointestinal changes in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Methods: Cross-sectional, descriptive analysis of 39 children with ASD aged between three and ten years old, registered in the participating association. Nutritional status was evaluated by body mass index/age and weight/age, according to the guidelines from the World Health Organization. In order to investigate whether gastrointestinal alterations occurred, the
... red, the interviewees answered a questionnaire about the presence of these symptoms within the last 30 days. In order to evaluate food consumption, a 24-hour recall questionnaire was applied and the food reported were grouped as: gluten sources, casein and ultra-processed sources. For the statistical analysis, Epi-Info software version 7.2 was used. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the variables associated with gastrointestinal alterations. Results: There was a high prevalence of overweight children with autism spectrum disorder (64.1%). No child was underweight. Thirty-four children (84.2%) had gastrointestinal symptoms. Consumption of gluten was associated with gastrointestinal symptoms (β=0.38; 95%CI 0.07-0.75; p=0.02). Conclusions: The high prevalence of being overweight should be considered during the follow-up visits of children with ASD. The influence of gluten consumption on the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms was observed in this study, and the causes involved in these alterations need to be further investigated.