News from the Healthy Weight Research Network (HWRN)

December 22, 2016

(1) The Healthy Weight Research Network (HWRN), coordinated by the E.K. Shriver Center at UMass Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine, was refunded for the next 5 years from the Maternal Child Health Bureau.  The mission of the HWRN is to advance the understanding of obesity risk factors in children with ASD and other developmental disabilities, to promote the development of evidence-based solutions to achieve healthy weight in this population, and to disseminate research findings to broad and diverse audiences.

(2) The HWRN held its first symposium on May 11, 2016 in Baltimore, MD.  The symposium, entitled Promoting Healthy Weight In Children and Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities: Current Research and Future Directions, featured presentations by HWRN Core and Associate Members on the following topics:  (1) The prevalence and risk factors for obesity in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and developmental disabilities; (2) Eating behaviors and parent feeding practices in children with ASD; (3) Physical activity participation among youth with ASD; Interventions promoting physical activity and weight loss in adolescents with developmental disabilities; and (4) Supporting physical activity and recreation in the community: a community-based participatory research feasibility study for increasing physical activity with adolescents with ASD.

(3) The HWRN's Secondary Data Analysis Core recently completed and published the results of two analyses using data from the National Survey of Children's Health documenting the elevated prevalence of obesity in children and youth with intellectual disabilities and also autism.   The citations and links to these papers are listed below.

  • Segal, M., Eliasziw, M., Phillips, S., Bandini, L., Curtin, C., Kral, T. V., ... & Must, A. (2016). Intellectual disability is associated with increased risk for obesity in a nationally representative sample of US children. Disability and health journal, 9(3), 392-398.  


  • Must, A., Eliasziw, M., Phillips, S. M., Curtin, C., Kral, T. V., Segal, M., ... & Bandini, L. G. (2016). The effect of age on the prevalence of obesity among us youth with autism spectrum disorder. Childhood Obesity.


Please visit for more information and please consider becoming an Associate Member or Subscriber.  Any inquiries about the HWRN can be directed to [email protected]

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