Dr. Pal Suren of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University College London's Institute of Child Health and colleagues at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, New York State Psychiatric Institute, University of Oslo, University of Bristol, University of Bergen, Lovisenberg Hospital in Oslo analyzed data of 92,909 Norwegian children at ages 3, 5 and 7. By the end of the follow-up period of the study, the 92,909 children were aged 4 to 13.
In the study, 22 percent of the mothers and 43 percent of the fathers were overweight, while 10 percent of the parents were obese with a body mass index of 30 or more.
By the end of the study 419 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, 162 with autistic disorder, 103 with Asperger disorder and 154 with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
The study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, found maternal obesity was only weakly associated with autism spectrum disorder risk, but paternal obesity was associated with an increased risk of autistic disorder and Asperger disorder.