Is the current obesity epidemic contributing the rise in the number of children diagnosed with autism? According to a new study by the University of California, Davis and Vanderbilt University, the answer is “yes.”

Researchers believe that about half the risk of autism is genetic and half is a result of other, external factors. This latest study finds that mothers who are obese are significantly more likely to have a child with autism or another developmental abnormality.

The study involved more than 1,000 children as well as their mother’s health history. They found that those mothers who were obese before pregnancy had a 60 percent increase in the likelihood of having a child with autism, and double the risk of having a child with another type of cognitive delay.

These findings are alarming, and very encouraging at the same time. In the vast majority of cases, obesity is largely a result of poor lifestyle choices, and this means that it is preventable. This means that the potential mothers have obesity within their control. By paying close attention to their eating habits and addressing obesity head on, potential mothers can drastically lower the chance of their children being diagnosed with autism.

Together, both genetic and early environmental factors are under investigation, but the vast majority of what we know suggests that the period of highest risk for autism is in the womb. This makes the mother’s overall health, both prior to and during pregnancy, is a contributing factor.

Women should, of course, consult with their doctor prior to making any significant change in their diet, especially if they are either pregnant or trying to become pregnant. But one thing seems sure, potential mothers that suffer from obesity owe it to their children to take control of their eating and their health as soon as possible.

Remember, healthy choices each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
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2 Responses to Eat Right: Autism Now Linked to Obesity in Mother

  1. Tammi says:

    Are the American people really this stupid? I think not. What will the government do next? Create and fund a study showing moms who like the color blue are more likely to have autistic kids? Or maybe moms who eat peanut butter. Or have brown eyes. This is the most absurd diversionary tactic yet to avoid the real issues in why there is an autism epidemic. Pathetic. A mom’s Weight has nothing to do with having an autistic child. How do you explain thousands of moms of severely autistic children and adults who are thin and eat healthy?

    • Vitaerobics says:


      Thanks for your feedback. I think what the study concluded was that mothers who were obese had a higher probability of having an autistic child. The occurance of autism is a complex issue. Most professionals who study this issue now believe that there are both genetic and environmental factors involved, and that no one factor dominates. You mention in your comment that this study is a “diversionary tactic” to “avoid the real issues,” but you don’t say what you think the real issues are. I would be interested in your views.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to comment.

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