Weight perception and weight loss behaviors: A comparison between adolescents with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Anderson, Elanor J
: Autism Spectrum Disorder; Typically Developing; Weight loss behaviors; weight perception; Medicine and Health Sciences; Physical Sciences and Mathematics
article description
OBJECTIVE: The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the accuracy of weight status perception among adolescents with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. A secondary purpose is to compare weight loss behaviors between children with and without ASD.METHODS: This study measured weight-perception and weight loss behaviors among Irish-thirteen-year olds with ASD (n=47) and typically developing (TD) children (n=47) (72% male). Participants completed questionnaires assessing perception of weight and weight loss behaviors. . Based on BMI, calculated from height and weight measurements, participants were classified as non-overweight, overweight and obese. Several Chi-square tests were used to examine (1) differences in accuracy of self-perception between adolescents with and without ASD, and (2) weight loss behaviors among children with and without ASD.RESULTS: All results from this study were statistically non-significant. Although, the study demonstrated that overweight adolescents with ASD were more than twice as likely (35%) to perceive their weight inaccurately compared to their overweight TD counterparts (15.4%). CONCLUSION: Future research should investigate self-perception in adolescents with ASD and the effects their body image has on their weight loss behaviors, social motivation, physical activity levels, and psychological health.Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Typically Developing, Weight loss behaviors, weight perception