Objective In the literature, there is almost no data on the relationship between autistic children’s nutritional problems and their mothers’ demographic and nutritional characteristics. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate whether there was a relationship between maternal features and nutritional problems in autistic children.
Methods This study was conducted with the participation of 58 autistic children (6-19 years) and their mothers. Descriptive data were obtained with a general questionnaire. For the evaluation of children’s nutritional status, anthropometric measurements and 24-hour dietary recall were used. Also, the Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory and ORTO-15 questionnaires were used to evaluate the meal behavior of children and orthorexia tendency of mothers, respectively
No significant correlation was found between the Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory scores in children
of mothers with high and low orthorexia tendency. There were also no statistically significant differences
between the children of mothers with high and low educational level in terms of Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior
Inventory scores. Only the dietary vitamin B6 intake was significantly higher in the children of mothers with high
educational level. Maternal age was associated with the dietary energy and protein intake, unlike, maternal
orthorexia tendency was not associated with the nutritional status and meal behavior of children. The abdominal
pain experience in the last one month was found to be significantly higher in the children of employed mothers
than children of unemployed mothers.
It is thought that the maternal characteristics are not effective on meal behavior in children and also maternal
age and educational status have a very limited effect on the nutritional status of children.