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PNPG Newsletter

Building Block for Life: January 2024

This article explores the integration of the Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam (NFPE) in managing severe food selectivity in children with autism, detailing its role in identifying nutrient deficiencies and shaping dietary interventions to improve nutritional health.

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Article: Incorporating the Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam into daily practice for children with autism spectrum disorder: A case study continuum Autism and Food Selectivity

This article, authored by Lydia White RDN LDN and Corinne Jacobs-Hayes MS RDN LDN, delves into the challenges and solutions in addressing food selectivity among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It highlights the prevalence of food selectivity in this group, which significantly increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies due to limited dietary variety. The piece thoroughly examines the implications of such selectivity on the nutritional status and overall health of affected children, emphasizing the critical role of the Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam (NFPE) in clinical practice.

The NFPE is introduced as an essential tool for dietitians working with this population, offering a comprehensive method to identify signs of malnutrition and specific nutrient deficiencies without the need for invasive procedures. The article illustrates the application of NFPE through two case studies, showcasing how it aids in the early detection of deficiencies in vitamin C and iron, among others. It also outlines the interdisciplinary approach necessary for effective treatment, including dietary adjustments, supplementation, and behavioral therapy.

Furthermore, the article discusses the challenges in implementing NFPE and dietary interventions, such as the difficulty in achieving compliance with supplementation and the need for tailored approaches to overcome sensory sensitivities. It underscores the importance of a multidisciplinary team, including dietitians, physicians, and behavioral therapists, in creating a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the unique needs of children with ASD and severe food selectivity.

By presenting evidence-based practices and real-life case studies, the article serves as a valuable resource for healthcare professionals seeking to improve the nutritional care of children with ASD, offering insights into the practical application of NFPE and the effectiveness of an integrated treatment approach.

CPE Level: 2
Performance Indicators: 8.2.1, 8.2.2, 8.2.3, 8.2.4

Learning Objectives

  • Define the prevalence of food selectivity in the autism spectrum disorder pediatric population
  • Describe the treatment of feeding disorders and nutrient deficiencies
  • Identify nutrient deficiencies in the food-selective population

Release Date: January 28, 2024


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