Lessons in Adapting a Family-Based Nutrition Program for Children With Autism

Brenda Manzanarez, Samantha Garcia, Ellen Iverson, Megan R. Lipton-Inga, Kevin Blaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the adaptation and implementation of an existing, evidence-based nutrition program for children with autism and their parents. Methods: Children aged 7–12 years with autism and their parent participated in 6 weekly sessions. Recruitment, intervention, and data collection took place in a community health center in an urban area. Results: Of the 50 referred participants, 38% attended the first classes, and 26% completed the program. Families and staff expressed satisfaction; parents reported increased physical activity, fruit, and vegetable intake in their children. Parents also desired continued learning and individualized recommendations. Conclusions and Implications: Adapting family-centered nutrition programs can positively influence diet behaviors in children with autism. As many children with autism battle with obesity, the findings from this pilot provide important insight into supporting these families and can further inform the development of evidence-based practices currently lacking for children with autism and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1038-1047
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • autism
  • family-centered
  • nutrition
  • obesity
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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