Association among obesity, overweight and autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Obesity, overweight and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain serious public health problems. Although lots of studies have recently explored the association among obesity, overweight and ASD, the findings are inconsistent. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies to examine the association among obesity, overweight and ASD. PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library were used for literature searches to identify eligible studies published in English before November 15, 2016. Relevant studies estimating the association among obesity, overweight and ASD were included. Fifteen studies encompassing 49,937,078 participants and 1,045,538 individuals with ASD were included in this study. A random effects model was chosen to synthesize the effect sizes of individual studies. The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher in individuals with ASD than in controls (OR = 1.84, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.37-2.48, P < 0.001). However, the prevalence of overweight in individuals with ASD was not significantly different from that in controls (OR = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.83-1.38, P = 0.62). Both sensitivity analysis and publication bias testing revealed that the findings were robust. The meta-analysis showed a significant association between obesity and ASD. However, no significant association was identified between overweight and ASD.