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13-10-2020 | Original Paper

Differences in Body Mass Index (BMI) in Early Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder Compared to Youth with Typical Development

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Blythe A. Corbett, Rachael A. Muscatello, Briana K. Horrocks, Mark E. Klemencic, Yasas Tanguturi
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Adolescence is a time of exceptional physical health juxtaposed against significant psychosocial and weight-related problems. The study included 241, 10-to-13-year-old youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD, N = 138) or typical development (TD, N = 103). Standardized exams measured pubertal development, height (HT), weight (WT), heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP) and Body Mass Index (BMI). Analysis of Variance showed no significant between-group differences for HT, WT, HR, or BP (all p > 0.05). There was a significant difference in BMI-percentile between the groups (F(1,234) = 6.05, p = 0.01). Using hierarchical linear regression, significant predictors of BMI-percentile included diagnosis, pubertal stage and socioeconomic status. Pre-to-early pubescent children with ASD evidence higher BMI percentiles compared to youth with TD suggesting they may be at heightened risk for weight-related health concerns.

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