Prevention and Management of Obesity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Primary Care Pediatricians

  • Morgan Walls
  • Sarabeth Broder-Fingert
  • Emily Feinberg
  • Mari-Lynn Drainoni
  • Megan Bair-Merritt
Original Paper

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at high risk for being overweight and obese. Little is known about how obesity in children with ASD is being addressed in primary care. This article reports findings from a survey completed by 327 general pediatricians, which included a fictional clinical vignette and Likert-scales assessing attitudes, practices, self-efficacy, and barriers to obesity management. Although the majority of respondents agreed pediatricians should be the main providers to manage obesity in children with ASD, few reported receiving adequate training to do so. Pediatricians were more likely to refer to developmental-behavioral pediatricians and dietitians for a child with ASD compared to a child without ASD. Higher self-efficacy was associated with increased weight-related counseling frequency by pediatricians.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Obesity Overweight Weight management Primary care 

Notes

Author Contributions

MW conceived of the study, participated in its design, interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript; SB assisted in the conception of the study, study design and revision of the manuscript; EF participated in the study design, interpretation of the data and revision of the manuscript; MD participated in the design of the study, interpretation of the data and revision of the manuscript; MB assisted in the conception of the study, study design, interpretation of the data and revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number R25DK096944, and the Academic Pediatric Association (APA). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors, and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or the APA. Morgan Walls previously reported the findings of this study in May 2017 as part of her oral Master’s thesis. The findings were submitted as part of her written Master’s thesis; however, the thesis has been embargoed from access until October 2019.

The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3494_MOESM1_ESM.docx (136 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 135 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsBoston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsCarolinas Healthcare SystemCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Community Health SciencesBoston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health Law, Policy and ManagementBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of MedicineBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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