Previous research has found that autism and eating disorders can occur together, as 20-30% of adults with eating disorders have autism, and 3-10% of children and young people with eating disorders.However, it has not been clear whether autistic traits result from eating disorders or precede them. This new longitudinal study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, finds that autistic traits in childhood come before behaviours characteristic of eating disorders, and so could be a risk factor for developing eating disorders.
While the study did not investigate the reasons behind the relationship, the researchers point out that children with autism may have difficulties with social communication and developing friendships, which could contribute to higher rates of depression and anxiety at young ages. Disordered eating might result from dysfunctional methods of coping with these emotional difficulties.
Read more at: https://neurosciencenews.com/autism-eating-disorders-16377/