Skip 
Navigation Link
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Resources
Basic Information
Infant Development: How Your Baby Grows and MaturesInfant Parenting: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and HappyInfant Safety: Keeping Your Baby SafeInfant Enrichment: Stimulating Your Baby
More InformationLatest News
'Kangaroo Care' Has Big Health Benefits For PreemiesBaby's Sleep Issues Could Sometimes Signal Autism: StudyBreast Milk May Help Shield Infants From Dangerous VirusesScreen Time for Tiniest Tots Linked to Autism-Like SymptomsNewborns With COVID-19 May Suffer Only Mild Symptoms, Study SaysHugs More Calming for Baby When Given by Mom or DadLet Your Baby Cry It OutToo Much 'Screen Time' Could Slow Your Toddler's Language Skills: StudyBabies Are Spared Severe COVID-19 SymptomsPreemies' Impaired Immune Systems Quickly Catch Up: StudyCould Dad-to-Be's Health Affect His Newborn's Health?Sleepless Babies May Face Emotional Troubles as KidsMom's Purse May Hold Hidden Dangers for KidsSmall Babies Have High Risk for Heart-Lung Weakness as Adults: StudyBabies' Exposure to Household Cleaning Products Tied to Later Asthma RiskParents, Grandparents to Blame for Many Child Drug Poisonings, CDC WarnsBaby in Your Room, Not in Your Bed: Good Advice, but Are Parents Listening?Beyond Baby Talk: Helping Early LanguageHealth Tip: Basics of Newborn Care'Kangaroo Care' Reduces Infant DeathsZika Damage Showing Up in Babies Deemed 'Normal' at BirthOut-of-Pocket Medical Costs Average $4,500 for Many New U.S. ParentsHow Are Your Newborn's Ears Working? Early Hearing Test Is a MustOpioid-Addicted Babies Cost U.S. More Than $500 Million AnnuallyIndoor Pollutants May Raise Allergy Risk in ToddlersEye Injuries From Household Cleaners Drop, But Kids Remain at RiskIs Timing Everything for SIDS Risk?Another Possible Effect of Climate Change: More Preemie BabiesDramatic Drop Seen in Kids Choking to Death on Household ObjectsSmallest Tots Spending Too Much Time on ScreensOpioid Exposure in Womb Alters the Infant BrainInfants May Not Be as Immune to Measles as ThoughtUmbilical Cord 'Milking' Procedure Dangerous for Preemies: StudyHealth Tip: Changing Diapers 101America's Sweet Tooth Starts From InfancyGive Newborn to Mom Right Away -- After Moving the ElectrodesAbnormal Gut Microbiome May Stunt Preemies' GrowthHealth Tip: Do's and Don'ts of Homemade Baby FormulaToo Much Screen Time May Be Stunting Toddlers' BrainsHigh-Tech Pacifier Might Monitor Baby's Blood SugarMany Women Are Sharing Breast Milk, and That Has Health Experts WorriedGood News for Parents: Many Preemie Babies Grow Up FineMany Parents Not Following Safe-Sleep Advice for BabiesHealth Tip: Baby's First ToothBreast Milk Combats Growth of Bad BacteriaHealth Tip: Addressing Your Child's Biting HabitPaid Family Leave Helps Keep Babies' Vaccines on Track: StudyMaking the Most of Your Baby's First 3 YearsC-Section Delivery Might Alter Newborn's 'Microbiome'New Healthy Drinks Guidelines for Kids: Skip the Soy, Avoid Sugars
Links
Related Topics

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Parenting
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)

Extreme Eating Habits Could Be an Early Clue to Autism

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jul 23rd 2019

new article illustration

TUESDAY, July 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Lots of kids are picky eaters. But when eating habits in young children are extreme, it could be a sign of autism, researchers say.

A new study finds atypical eating behaviors -- such as hypersensitivity to food textures or pocketing food without swallowing -- in 70% of kids with autism. That's 15 times the rate typically found in children.

Unusual eating behaviors are common in many 1-year-olds with autism and could alert parents and doctors that a child may have the disorder, according to study author Susan Mayes. She's a professor of psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine.

"If a primary care provider hears about these behaviors from parents, they should consider referring the child for an autism screening," she said in a university news release.

For the study, the researchers analyzed parents' descriptions of the eating behaviors of more than 2,000 children. The kids were in two studies that compared typical children and those with autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other developmental disorders.

Atypical eating behaviors also include liking only an extremely small number of foods, and hypersensitivity to food temperatures.

Atypical eating behaviors were seven times more common among children with autism than children with other types of developmental disorders, the Penn State researchers also found.

Most of the children with autism who had atypical eating behaviors had two or more types, and nearly one-quarter had three or more. None of the children with other developmental disorders who did not have autism had three or more.

The earlier that autism is diagnosed, the sooner the child can begin treatment, Mayes noted.

The findings also show that atypical eating behaviors may help doctors make a diagnosis of autism separate from other developmental disorders, said Keith Williams, director of the Feeding Program at Penn State Children's Hospital.

"When we evaluate young children with multiple eating problems, we start to wonder if these children might also have the diagnosis of autism," Williams said. "In many cases, they eventually do receive this diagnosis."

The study was published in the August issue of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on autism.