Obesity as a risk factor for autism

Striking a nerve

I get lots of great feedback from readers. People sharing their success. Offering support and encouragement for the causes I’ve dedicated my career to championing. But every now and then something I write strikes a nerve with some people. And the recent Reality Health Check titled  “Staggering facts about autism” was one of them. I heard from one reader in particular who was outraged that I would suggest a mother’s obesity as a risk factor for autism.

So today, I’d like to take a moment to set the record straight. By no means was I indicating that I believe this factor is the primary cause of the dramatic increase in autism. In fact, the second line I wrote actually reveals my true position on this particular finding:  “Or is [this] just another cover-up to mask the real reasons behind this raging epidemic?”

That said, the rise in autism is so severe that we need to look at any and all potential causes. So I thought you might be as interested in this information as I was. Because I admit, I’d never considered even a possible link between obesity and autism until I read the study.

Do I think it’s the main reason? Absolutely not. But if there’s even a miniscule link there, it’s something that needs to be addressed. Because, as I said yesterday, obesity is something that is well within our control.

The other reason I thought this particular study was worth mentioning was to point out that the obesity epidemic is potentially changing everything–from clothing sizes, to the amount of fuel we use in our cars and airplanes, to wheelchair and coffin sizes. And yes–the health of our children. Whether or not this particular condition is at stake is beside the point. Children whose parents are obese are at distinct and proven health disadvantages. Period.

And if there is one thing I am 100% certain about it’s that obesity is a death sentence. Not only for yourself, but genetically for your loved ones, and the environment. And it’s time we took it seriously.