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Development of Social Media Nutrition Intervention Components: Perspectives from a Narrative Literature Review on a Global Outlook of Problematic Mealtime Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Evelyn Spiller
Jana Kandil
Syed Hasan

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Tampa

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Heewon Gray

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It has been estimated that about 1 in 160 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) globally. However, this estimate excludes the unknown prevalence from many low-and-middle-income countries where ASD in children remains understudied. Young children with ASD may demonstrate adverse mealtime behaviors stemming from sensory sensitivity, neophobia, or opposition to the general appearance of certain foods. These qualities can have lasting impacts on their food intake and subsequently affect the body weight and nutritional status of these children. As obesity and nutritional deficiencies have become a growing concern among children with ASD in countries around the world, new literature on this subject has begun to emerge. This study aimed to conduct a narrative review of empirical literature published over the last 10 years on problematic mealtime and eating behaviors in children with ASD from various countries. PubMed and Web of Science were used with a combination of search-terms including ‘autism*’, ‘mealtime behaviors’, ‘children’, and ‘nutrition’. There were 20 articles identified discussing the mealtime challenges experienced by parents and how food selectivity can influence the behavior of children with ASD. Our findings highlighted the unmet need of data from underdeveloped countries. Additionally, the developmental process of social media components to supplement a nutrition intervention, the Autism Eats, for children with ASD, is described. Intervention materials and external resources for parents of children with ASD have been identified and tested on a private social media platform.

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Development of Social Media Nutrition Intervention Components: Perspectives from a Narrative Literature Review on a Global Outlook of Problematic Mealtime Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

It has been estimated that about 1 in 160 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) globally. However, this estimate excludes the unknown prevalence from many low-and-middle-income countries where ASD in children remains understudied. Young children with ASD may demonstrate adverse mealtime behaviors stemming from sensory sensitivity, neophobia, or opposition to the general appearance of certain foods. These qualities can have lasting impacts on their food intake and subsequently affect the body weight and nutritional status of these children. As obesity and nutritional deficiencies have become a growing concern among children with ASD in countries around the world, new literature on this subject has begun to emerge. This study aimed to conduct a narrative review of empirical literature published over the last 10 years on problematic mealtime and eating behaviors in children with ASD from various countries. PubMed and Web of Science were used with a combination of search-terms including ‘autism*’, ‘mealtime behaviors’, ‘children’, and ‘nutrition’. There were 20 articles identified discussing the mealtime challenges experienced by parents and how food selectivity can influence the behavior of children with ASD. Our findings highlighted the unmet need of data from underdeveloped countries. Additionally, the developmental process of social media components to supplement a nutrition intervention, the Autism Eats, for children with ASD, is described. Intervention materials and external resources for parents of children with ASD have been identified and tested on a private social media platform.