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Research Article Open Access
The relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and mealtime behavioural problems has been discussed in the United States recently, but there is limited research data on this matter in Chinese children. This study aims to evaluate the prevalence of feeding and mealtime behavioural problems in Hong Kong Chinese preschoolers with ASD using the Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory (BAMBI). Parents with children aged between 2 to 6 years old diagnosed with ASD were asked to complete a Chinese version of BAMBI, which is a validated 18-item questionnaire designed to measure mealtime behavioural problems in children with ASD. A total of 177 children were enrolled: 78.0% were boys and 22.0% were girls; the mean age was 5.0 (2.9-6.3). The survey revealed that the “limited variety” of food was the most prevalent feeding problem. Close to half of caregivers found limited food variety being problematic and affecting their daily functioning. The perception of problems by caregivers was positively correlated with the frequency of problematic feeding behaviours. These feeding behavioural problems are not alleviated by current training. We suggest concentrating specifically on addressing the feeding behaviour through a multidisciplinary approach and by incorporating dietary advice, which will be beneficial to children with ASD and their families.
Autism spectrum disorder, Mealtime behaviour, Feeding behavior, Dietary advice, Child Behavioral Psychology, Child Development Psychology, Experimental Child Psychology