Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 549–556 | Cite as

Food Variety as a Predictor of Nutritional Status Among Children with Autism

  • Michelle H. ZimmerEmail author
  • Laura C. Hart
  • Patricia Manning-Courtney
  • Donna S. Murray
  • Nicole M. Bing
  • Suzanne Summer
Original Paper


The frequency of selective eating and nutritional deficiency was studied among 22 children with autism and an age matched typically developing control group. Children with autism ate fewer foods on average than typically developing children. (33.5 vs. 54.5 foods, P < .001) As compared to typical controls, children with autism had a higher average intake of magnesium, and lower average intake of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Selective eaters were significantly more likely than typical controls to be at risk for at least one serious nutrient deficiency (P < .001).


Autism Nutrition Feeding disorder Food Selectivity 



The authors would like to acknowledge the efforts of Twila Rogers, Study Coordinator, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Clinical Trials Office. This study was was supported in part by USPHS Grant #M01 RR 08084 from the General Clinical Research Centers Program, National Center for Research Resources, NIH and in part by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle H. Zimmer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura C. Hart
    • 2
  • Patricia Manning-Courtney
    • 1
  • Donna S. Murray
    • 1
  • Nicole M. Bing
    • 1
  • Suzanne Summer
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics MLC 4002Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.University of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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