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Registered Dietitians’ Insights in Treating Autistic Children

      The topic of children and young adults living with autism has once again captured the attention of the mainstream media. Autism is becoming so prevalent in today’s public discourse that the producers of popular reality television shows have purchased the rights to a documentary on the topic (
      • Adalian J.
      Bunim-Murray forms film unit.
      ). While, at first blush, this may seem to bring this disorder into the light of public acceptance, it also is a clarion call for health care professionals to ensure that the condition is understood and managed well, and not simply characterized as a personality quirk. This newfound attention is most recently due to the results of the first and largest summary of prevalence data taken from multiple US communities. In a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February 2007—the first published results from the organization’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network—researchers suggest that approximately one in every 150 children in the United States has autism or a closely related disorder. The number of children apparently affected—560,000 nationwide if the statistics are reflective of all 50 states—makes autism now more than ever a “major public health concern” according to Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp who conducted the survey (
      • Weiss R.
      1 in 150 children in U.S. has autism, new survey finds.
      ).
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      References

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        Bunim-Murray forms film unit.
        Variety. 2007 (March 18. Available at: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117961373.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Accessed April 2, 2007.)
        • Weiss R.
        1 in 150 children in U.S. has autism, new survey finds.
        Washington Post. 2007 (February 9:A06. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/08/AR2007020801883.html. Accessed March 8, 2007.)
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        Nutrition and autism: Are they linked?.
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        What happens when they grow up. Newsweek. November 27, 2006.
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        Dietary supplement use is prevalent among children with a chronic illness.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2005; 105: 78-84
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        Position of the American Dietetic Association: Providing nutrition services for infants, children, and adults with developmental disabilities and special health care needs.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2004; 104: 97-107
      1. Autism Society of America. Treatment: Biomedical & Dietary Approaches. Available at: http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_treatment_biomedical. Accessed March 8, 2007.