BACKGROUND: The aim of current study was to examine the nature and prevalence of feeding problems and mealtime behavior problems in children with ASD comparing to children with other neurodevelopmental disorders (NNDs) and TD children. We also investigated the impact of intelligence quotient (IQ) and/or emotional and behavioral problems on feeding and mealtime behavior problems.
METHODS: Participants completed the following tests: Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory (BAMBI) and Behavioral Pediatric Feeding Assessment Scale (BPFAS).
RESULTS: Children with ASD showed more feeding and mealtime behavior problems including food refusal (p<.001, p<.001) and limited variety of foods (p=.014; p=.018) compared with NDDs and TD children. ASD group showed more problems in mealtime behavior (p=.034) and parent behaviors (p=.028) compared to TD group. Internalizing (p=.003) and externalizing (p=.008) problems were positively related to parent frustration during mealtime in ASD group.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that routine screening for feeding and mealtime behavior problems among children with ASD is necessary to prevent dietary inadequacies that may be associated with eating habits.