Nutritional Status of Autistic School Children: An Evidence from Rajshahi City in Bangladesh - Abstract
Nutritional needs for promoting the health of school children is getting priority at all policy levels worldwide. Assessment of nutritional status for under-five children is important, but research and intervention of malnutrition of school aged children are also important. Among the school aged children, the autistic children are more vulnerable for facing nutritional problems. As the nutritional status of children represents the countries overall nutritional scenario and Bangladesh government is planning to integrate autistic children to the mainstream population in the development process, assessment of nutritional status of autistic children is needed to be performed. Therefore, this study was conducted on 295 school children (143 autistic and 152 neurotypical) in the Rajshahi City Corporation area of Bangladesh. Using nutritional assessment approaches with clinical signs and weight-status, attempts have been executed to assess the nutritional status of autistic children and to compare with the status of neurotypical children. Highlighted findings of this study indicate that autistic children are more prone to poorer nutritional status compared to neurotypical children. A significant proportion of autistic children are critically over-weighted (30.8%) and under-weighted (9.1%); the male autistic children are at risk of poorer nutritional status compared to the female autistic children. These study findings will help nutritional analysts and policy-makers to come up with adequate policy formations for improving the nutritional status of autistic children in the study area.