National Research Network on Healthy Weight in Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

Date Posted: August 31, 2013

The Health Promotion & Wellness in Developmental Disabilities Research Group at the UMMS-E.K. Shriver Center was recently awarded a three-year grant from the Maternal Child Health Bureau to establish a national research network on healthy weight in children with autism and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD).

The research network will be co-directed by Linda Bandini, PhD, Carol Curtin, MSW, and Aviva Must, PhD. The goals of the network are to: (1) conduct research to improve knowledge about the prevalence of overweight/obesity, key risk factors, and obesity-related chronic/secondary health conditions among youth with ASD/DD; (2) engage in formative work on barriers to healthy eating and physical activity in children with ASD/DD; (3) support innovative pilot studies designed to test the efficacy/feasibility of interventions to prevent/reduce excessive weight among youth with ASD/DD; (4) leverage funding support for research that will fulfill the aims of the HW-RN research agenda; and (5) disseminate findings to broad research, clinical, public health, and lay audiences.

The network will be composed of a national, interdisciplinary team of established researchers with expertise in ASD/DD and/or obesity. An advisory panel of nationally-recognized experts in public health, cultural competence, family-centered care, and self-advocacy will provide input into research agenda and will provide guidance on key issues.

For more information, contact Carol Curtin at carol.curtin@umassmed.edu