Bone Health and BMD Research in Pediatric and Adolescent Individuals with ASD: Current Data, Evaluation, and Next Steps

  • Kelly M. BarnhillEmail author
  • Morgan Devlin
  • Laura Hewitson
Review Paper


Austin spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that can include impairments in communication skills and social interaction as well as behavioral challenges. Recent research has evaluated bone health and bone mineral density (BMD) in cohorts of pediatric, adolescent, and young adult participants. Consistent findings across publications indicate that individuals with ASD have decreased BMD when compared to non-ASD age-matched peers. Factors raised in the literature for consideration of impact on BMD status include dietary intake, feeding behavior, nutrient status, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and diagnoses, physical activity, and prescription medication usage. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of published research evaluating BMD in those with ASD, analyze potential issues of correlation with lowered BMD in this population, offer perspective for future research consideration, and propose evaluation and intervention strategies to address and potentially ameliorate both the short-term and long-term impact of decreased BMD in children and adolescents.


BMD Bone mineral density Autism spectrum disorder ASD 



autism spectrum disorder


bone mineral content




dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry


gluten free casein free


inflammatory bowel disease


primary care practitioner


Author Contribution

KB designed and organized this review. MD completed literature searches, the first draft of the manuscript was written by KB, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Johnson Center for Child Health and DevelopmentAustinUSA

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