Study: Obese Moms Birth Kids With Greater Risk Of Autism

Science continues to scramble for reasons that children become autistic. The latest straw to which researchers are grasping is that children whose mothers were obese during pregnancy have an increased risk of autism.

The AP cites a study in the journal Pediatrics that found obese moms’ kids — compared to children of average-weight moms — had a 67 percent higher chance of being diagnosed with autism, as well as an increased risk of developmental delays.

There’s not enough evidence to leap to the conclusion that obesity directly contributes to an increased chance of autism, but there’s reason for moms to listen to doctors who advise keeping a close watch on weight gain during pregnancy. Previous research has linked obese pregnant mothers with higher risks of stillbirths, birth defects and premature births.

Autism risk rises if woman obese during pregnancy [AP via SFGate]


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  1. eezy-peezy says:

    That would explain the large increase in autism recently.

    • Conformist138 says:

      That and the fact that aspergers wasn’t ‘discovered’ until the 1940s and it wasn’t widely known and accepted until the 1990s. The “explosion in autism diagnoses” that has been reported this decade really just stem from a widened definition of “autism” and we are still a way off from knowing if the rates really are increasing.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Oh, and interestingly, the reason some crazy people (I am looking at you, Jenny McCarthy!) think autism is linked to multi-vaccine injections is also due to the same widened autism definitions. When those people look at the rising autism rates, they noticed the rise really took off in the early 1990s around the same time the uber-shots became widely used. It just happened that the autism definitions were shifting at the same time. They took the first correlation they found and assumed it must be a causation and ran with it until science slapped them rightly in the face. (Any further proof of Jenny McCarthy being full of poo on the subject is found with her assertion that her son was “cured” of autism a few years later and is now perfectly normal. Really, he just had a seizure disorder that was properly treated)

        • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

          Prior to receiving your high school diploma, all students should need to write a series of essays, one one which would be “Why Corellation is NOT Causation”.

          • Powerlurker says:

            Similarly, most non-STEM majors in college would be better off if the capstone of their mathematical education was statistics and not calculus.

            • AuntieMaim says:

              This is such a good call.

            • shadowboxer524 says:

              Agreed! I took AP Stats in high school (never took a calculus course). Because I found the subject so useful (and had forgotten quite a bit since), I took it in grad school last semester.

      • Kuri says:

        eh, I have experience in that.

        When I was in elementary school they just did the typical “he has ADD” and started throwing pills at me.

        I wasn’t diagnosed until… maybe middle school, early high school.

      • NCB says:


    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      The vast majority of the recent “increase” is due to broadening of the clinical definition of the spectrum, and greater awareness and screening for it done by doctors these days.

      Sure…obesity is, apparently, having it’s toll too – but my impression is that there probably isn’t a really large difference in the % of kids with autism now vs. the past, it’s just that we’ve changed the definition of what is autism and are doing a better job checking for it.

      • cspschofield says:

        Of course we’ve expanded the definition of Obesity too, which lead to an explosion in obesity cases, so there’s a connection there too.

        *snark off*

  2. Kuri says:

    I guess autism is the new aids or something.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Looks like Jimmy Buffet will be doing a benefit for Autism then….sigh

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      …I think that’s kind of insensitive. Autism can basically ruin the life of not just the victim, but the entire family.

      …which is why they frequently become so desperate for answers that they start believing the evil filth spewed by infanticidal maniacs like Jenny McCarthy.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I think he means it’s the new “cool” disease to be fighting to cure. It’s no more insensitive a statement than when people try to fight disease just to be seen as hip or popular.

        • Kuri says:

          Funny thing is, for any kind of “cure” to be found, genetic engineering needs study, and that’s a field of science many people are dead set against.

          Plus, what about those aware enough to not really want to be cured?

          • longfeltwant says:

            From what is known about autism, it seems unlikely that it can be ‘cured’, so much as ‘prevented’. Once the bun is baked, you can’t change the temperature of the oven.

            • Menelly says:

              Good to know that we’re all on the same page: we’re not looking for a cure, we are looking for eugenics. Once they found the gene for Downs, for example, 90% of Downs babies are aborted when they’re found to be Downs. That’s not a “cure” that’s eugenics.

              And that’s what they’re looking for for autism. And eugenics is NOT COOL.

              • Kuri says:

                I agree with you completely. Eugenics is one of those things that should never be considered even once.

                Not to godwin, but, a certain someone was all about eugenics and, that led to some really nasty stuff.

            • CarlR says:

              I disagree.

              While it’s possible that ASD research will lead to a fetal screening test, I don’t believe that’s going to be the only way to treat the condition. We don’t even know the extent to which genetics and environment contribute, though it is likely that both factors play a role.

              The brain has an amazing power to heal itself. Look at stroke victims or victims of traumatic brain injury that are able to re-learn how to walk, talk, etc. With advances in stem cell research and a better understanding of the brain, it seems plausible that the development of language, motor planning, and social skills that didn’t occur in the ASD child’s brain could be triggered to occur at a much later age.

      • Kuri says:

        You’re talking to someone who is autistic.

        Not only do I not want to be cured, as I don’t think there is anything wrong with me, but I haven’t even come close to ruining my family.

        Thank you for seeing people such as myself as nothing more than a bane on society.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Thanks for deliberately twisting my intent from defending those who are seriously affected by autism from someone who appeared to me to be making fun of the affliction.

          Obviously, like anything else, some people are affected more or less by autism. Some people are autistic but highly functional and capable of interacting with society in a perfectly normal manner. Others are profoundly incapable of much of anything, and the impact to themselves and their families is devastating.

          I don’t care if you’re autistic or not – all I can tell from here is that you’re a dick.

          • Kuri says:

            How the hell could I get intent out of something that has no tone of voice?

            I didn’t “deliberately” twist your words, that’s jut how it came off to me.

          • Yomiko says:

            And some people who are HIV positive have a low viral load and live healthy lives while some people get very sick and do require a lot of help and care. If that’s your definition of “ruining the lives” of a family, I suppose both diseases qualify.

            Just take a breath and look at both sides, ok?

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Protip: try learning something about a topic before you start arguing about it with someone else.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              …at what point in the above comments did I not demonstrate knowledge about the affliction? I happen to have a few friends with children affected by this, and as demonstrated above I have a pretty good grasp on it.

              You, on the other hand, have proven yourself convincingly to be a fool and a troll today. And overall, just a piece of sh1t as far as can be seen here.

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                The guy with autism disagrees. I gather from his point of view, you might have technical knowledge, but no emotional experience with it.

        • CarlR says:

          If a cure is ever discovered, I’m sure no one is going to force it on you.

          As you know, Autism is a spectrum disorder – and you are obviously at the high-functioning end of that spectrum. I’m happy for you. Please realize that not everyone with Autism is as fortunate as you. Those at the low-functioning end, who may never be able to utter a single word or express anything close to a complex thought, who will not be able to hold down a job or support themselves, who will need constant care from their parents and extended families for the rest of their lives, would probably welcome a cure – or even a treatment.

          We need to find a cure for Autism. It’s important for those on the low-functioning end of the spectrum. Please don’t make it all about you.

          • Menelly says:

            I think I just got a curbie mommy bingo. Yep… “you must be high functioning” and experience erasure! BINGO!

            Look. Just because someone can type on the internet doesn’t mean they’re “high functioning” which is a bullshit label as it is. I know several people who can type, and some of them can barely speak. Most are on disability. Every single one is disabled in some way. Playing the “lower functioning” game, when plenty of “low functioning” people can be taught to use alternative communication, including computers, is inane at best.

            Signed: Another autistic that doesn’t want a “cure”. Who’s the daughter of an austistic and the mother of an autistic. Don’t try and “fix” my family, we are not broken.

            • smo0 says:

              You can’t say you don’t want a cure when there is currently none to be had.

              I don’t know what your day to day life is – but many people scream about not caring about cures because they are at the “Acceptance” stage of grief.

              Sure you’re right to not get your hopes up… however, some people may not have luxuries you have or maybe even an awesome insurance plan to deal with disability fallout -and would give their right kidney for a cure.

              So I hope there are cures for all ailments as we continue to evolve as a society – so you can take your obvious “christian science” attitude and QUIT HOLDING THE REST OF SOCIETY BACK FROM REAL FUCKING ADVANCEMENT.

              • Menelly says:

                I absolutely, positively, can say I don’t want a cure. I don’t want a cure for me, I don’t want one for my son (who’s far more low functioning than I) and I don’t want one in general. Diseases need cures. Neurological differences do not.

            • CarlR says:

              I would like a cure, please.

              That desire is as valid as your desire to not want a cure. Wanting a cure for my family is not the same as wanting to force a “fix” on yours. If you’re happy, I’m happy for you.

              Can we just agree that I’ll continue to keep fighting to find a cure, if I promise to not force it on you if one is ever found? This whole battle is silly. It’s not about you.

            • CarlR says:

              Kuri made it all the way to high school or middle school before being diagnosed, so I’d say that makes it pretty likely that he/she is high-functioning.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    STUDY: Mom’s birth kids at greater risk of autism when gas prices are over $4.19 a gallon and the sky is blue.*

    *There’s not enough evidence to leap to the conclusion that artificially high gas prices and blue sky directly contribute to an increased chance of autism

  4. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    If Americans are reportedly more obese than residents of other countries, then should we see a greater rate of autism in the United States compaired to elsewhere?

  5. LadyTL says:

    Great what’s the next thing they will try and say causes autism? Foods people don’t like, water, air? This is getting ridiculous.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      TSA backscatter body scanners.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Your right. It is coming after the next “study”.

    • Coelacanth says:

      Sorry – it has to be foods that people *like*.

      Then once those are out of the way, it’ll be the popular, substituted foods that people become to like after they’ve adopted lifestyle changes to avoid the food they originally ate and liked.

      One can’t win with nutrition, it seems.

      (My apologies for being so cynical.)

    • Menelly says:

      Google “autism fries”. I am not making this up. There was once a website devoted to trying to prove that McD’s fries caused autism.

      My autistic friend and I (also autistic) are now joking that autistics are born when the astrological sign of the parents is are in conflict with their chinese zodiac.

      It makes just as much sense. ;)

    • kobresia says:

      I’m more concerned with the quality of the hypothesis. When ignorant people make stuff up without even so much of a plausible mechanism, that’s annoying.

      With this autism hypothesis, there’s something to work with because they were thinking along the lines of insulin, oxygen deprivation, or other nutritional deficiencies. Who knows, it’s at least a start that can be researched fairly thoroughly. As far as fry autism, what’s the proposed mechanism? Magic?

  6. sj_user1 says:

    So Autism is a preexisting condition. Good luck getting medical coverage when the Republicans repeal Obamacare. Maybe you can get a million dollar book deal like Palin to pay for the care of your special needs child.

  7. Chairman-Meow says:

    Correct me if I wrong, but aren’t all women who are pregnant technically “obese” during that period ?

    • Conformist138 says:

      No, they are not. Being pregnant is not the same as being fat. Pregnant women can’t really use the same obesity charts, at least not if you want the results to be legit. Otherwise, it would state that healthy pregnant women are in every way identical to healthy women who are not pregnant.

      • longfeltwant says:

        True, true. Moreover, the “obesity” charts are 100% absolutely meaningless anyway. Ever since high school, when I had less than 1% body fat as a tight young man, and yet qualified as “moderately overfat”, I have never put even the tiniest shred of credit into any studies looking at “obesity”. If diet scientists can’t define “obese” reasonably, then they deserve to be ignored.

        Also, my only comment about this study is that I am left with the assumption that this is correlation not causation: my prejudices tell me that fat mothers are also more likely to be dirtier, lower class (behaviorally), less informed, less careful, more likely to be exposed to bad stuff. But, it certainly is not impossible to be causative: obesity causes all sorts of stuff to go wrong in bodies

    • justhypatia says:

      Yeah I can’t find out how they judged “obesity.” Was it women who started out obese? Or did they include women who started out “normal” but happened to gain a lot?

      They did say it was a retrospective of medical records, so they would have at their disposal weight and weight increases, plus girth measurements. We can hope they also looked at birth weights of the children and placental size.

      Chances are however they never got something that measured actual fat percentage, such as a calliper measurement, because that’s not part of general gynaecological care.

  8. Cat says:

    I blame the OP

    (Obese Preggos)

  9. Schildkrote says:

    there’s billions of dollars in panicking about obesity and there’s billions of dollars in panicking about autism. combine the two and you get INFINITE MONEY.

    • failurate says:

      You need a trifecta. Might I suggest Breast Cancer?

      • ARP says:

        Actually, there are studies that link obesity with higher rates of breast cancer. The reality is that when you’re obese, you’re putting yourself at risk for more diseases and problems across the spectrum. I don’t think its any surprise that obesity in the mother and autism are linked. I

  10. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The problem now is that you’ve pointed a finger at a strong correlation between autism and something that individuals are themselves responsible for – their own health (and weight). As we know, *no one* is responsible for the fact that they’re fat. It’s HFCS’s fault. Or it’s their job’s fault. Or it’s McDonald’s fault. Etc. ad infinitum.

    Granted that correlation isn’t causation – which actually is kinda funny to see how the antivax people are acting now…as we all know the whole basis of the antivax movement is the concept that since autism is diagnosed after a child is immunized, the “obvious” conclusion is that vaccines *cause* autism. Never mind the fact that essentially *everything* that happens in a person’s life happens after they get vaccinated. By that logic vaccines also cause one to graduate from high school, get married, and have children. But now, you see the antivaxxers trotting out the “correlation isn’t causation” thing themselves. Because a lot of them are fat. And they don’t want to have to admit that there was anything they, themselves, could have done to either prevent or mitigate the chances of their child having autism.

    To be fair, naturally this study just came out…so there was no reason previously to assume that the mother’s obesity was correlated to the risk of having an autistic child. BUT…granted how desperate people are to find ways to cure and/or avoid autism, you’d think that these people would be *thankful* that science has identified a strong corollary, and it’s something that you as a parent can actually take control of. There’s something you can *do* about it. Lose weight.

    …so are the antivaxxers happy? Are they grateful for this news about a way to apparently lessen the likelihood that a child will be born with autism?

    No. Because they don’t want *themselves* to be responsible for anything. They want the big, evil corporations to be responsible for something. Or maybe the government. Or…somebody else. ANYBODY else. Just don’t tell individuals in our society that they’re responsible for something…all that will do is piss them off.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I appreciate the rant, but what evidence do you have to support your claim? You make “antivaxxers” sound like really terrible people, but there was a lot of assumptions being throw around in there.

      • Costner says:

        Generally speaking, antivaxxers are terrible people. They try to convince others to put their health and safety, or the health and safety of their children at risk merely because they have wild theories about vaccines which at no point have ever been proven.

        There is a reason why we have witnessed out breaks of pertussis and the measles the past few years, and if they had their way we would go back to the days where people were dying from smallpox and polio. Those idiots are dangerous and they put everyone else at risk when they mess with they mess with the concept of herd immunity.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Copied from above:

          And yet, [he’s] applying judgements to them for something they have not had a chance to react to yet. At least give them a chance to fumble before you criticize on these particular points.

          But feel free to bash them for past deeds.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            Copied from above:

            They *are* already doing it. This story broke a few days ago on other websites. Leaders of the antivax movement were already posting on sites like in exactly the manner I just described.

            Thanks for jumping to conclusions though.

            Protip: try learning something about a topic before you start arguing about it with someone else.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              You haven’t shown anyone any evidence of ANY reaction to THIS STORY.

              Protip: don’t be pompous without the proof. You just make yourself seem more like a bully.

              • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                You should take your own advice.

                I said antivax leaders had already made statements to that effect. Then I even referenced Age of Autism directly. Now, because you’re clearly too f%cking stupid to use Google on your own, I copied and pasted a post from someone identifying themselves as an Age of Autism representative.

                Your failure is catastrophic. You’re a f%cking troll and I am done with you.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …are you serious? Antivaxxers are amongst the stupidest and the most harmful people on this planet.

        Even when the very basis of their argument, a study published by Andrew Wakefield, was exposed as a total forgery and he was stripped of his ability to practice medicine, these people persist with their stupidity and utter disregard for the health and well-being of children worldwide. This type of denier is the worst of all – because their denial of reality actually causes people to get sick and die.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          And yet, you’re applying judgements to them for something they have not had a chance to react to yet. At least give them a chance to fumble before you criticize on these particular points.

          But feel free to bash them for past deeds.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            They *are* already doing it. This story broke a few days ago on other websites. Leaders of the antivax movement were already posting on sites like in exactly the manner I just described.

            Thanks for jumping to conclusions though.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              Neither of those links relates to this article and their reaction – only their reaction from years past.

              The body count, for example, is based on her many years of buffoonery, not the current article at hand.

              So again, I do not disagree with your assessment of these people, but you put words into their mouths on this particular issue.

              • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                No I didn’t. There was an ariticle on a couple days ago where I directly read posts from people involved in the antivax movement, particularly in connection with the Age of Autism group.

                Since it’s been a couple days, that article isn’t even on the CNN main page anymore, and I didn’t bookmark it in the event that I’d have to serve it up to a troll.

                …so I just went and searched on Here you go:


                And the posts I provided related to your assertion that “antivaxxers can’t be all that bad.”

                So no…I’m not putting words in anyone’s mouth. Thanks for the continual willfully uninformed attacks though.

                • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                  First of all, don’t misquote me. That’s just pathetic to stoop that low. I never said “antivaxxers can’t be all that bad.” In fact, I never even came close to making such an assertion. I actually agreed with your assessment of their past actions, very clearly. If you can only support your opinion by committing liable, then there is no hope for you.

                  Second, anonymous blog posts equals evidence of the thoughts and feelings of an entire group of people? I never knew!

                  You saw a few flamers on the internet and that’s evidence that the entire group of people who believed Jenny McCarthy can’t change?

                  Hell, I don’t think this news will change their minds either, save for a few, but I don’t go making wild assumptions about people, then get all butthurt when someone questions me on my wild assumptions.

                  • MMD says:

                    You’re talking to the guy who used a few comments from iPhone users about Instagram coming to Android to “support” his irrationally angry bias against all iPhone users…so this is par for the course, really.

                    I don’t have much respect for the anti-vaccination crowd, but I’m not going to let the comments on an internet be my sole source of information about an entire community’s reaction to this study.

                  • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                    Wow you really have a problem with reading comprehension.

                    I directly pointed out that people connected with the Age of Autism group were commenting on the article. And how would I know that? Because they identified themselves.

                    Here’s one for your perusal:

                    “It‚Äôs incredible what researchers will come up with as a possible factor in autism. Most of the findings lay the blame on the parents. We haven‚Äôt come very far from the days of the refrigerator mom. Other studies implicate older dads, older moms, bad genes, antidepressants during pregnancy, and living too close to a freeway.

                    In truth, this is a story that will be quickly forgotten. There is no way this study could explain why autism now affects one in every 88 children in the U.S. and among boys alone, one in every 54. It doesn’t tell us why thousands of parents report that their child was born healthy and was developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly they changed. Many stopped talking and lost learned skills. Others developed things like seizures, bowel disease, and sleep disorders along with their autism. Doctors can’t explain this. They call it a coincidence; at the same time they tell us that autism has no known cause or cure. There’s nothing a mainstream doctor can tell a new mother to do so that her baby doesn’t also end up on the autism spectrum. How many more years will be wasted with dead-end research like this?

                    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism”

                    And by the way, I’m not your f%cking Google Gopher. I’m sure you’re capable of typing into a search field yourself.

      • kobresia says:

        Based on my observations, he’s mostly correct, at least as far as the parents who have profoundly autistic kids are concerned. That’s obviously not a scientific study, but when you have someone who is otherwise intelligent and understands scientific principles very well get so delusional and irrational on one narrow subject, there’s definitely something weird going on.

        My theory is that those parents, at some level, just can’t accept that they may have a genetic defect and they are entirely responsible for their kids’ tragic lives. They can’t cope with the fact that they brought an aberration into the world rather than then next Nobel Prize winner, so they find someone or something else to blame. They retreat into a world of denial in which they were also victimized, and vociferous protests in which they associate with other people in denial are ways they reinforce their delusions.

        That doesn’t explain the people who have no direct relationship with someone suffering from autism who jump on the antivax bandwagon. I think they’re probably either really, really stupid (likely the majority), but there are also probably at least some psychopaths that are preying on all the others, telling them what they want to hear, for their own personal gain. That asshole doctor who fabricated research he claimed linked autism to vaccines was in that latter category, and some of the more high-profile personalities like this Jenny McCarthy likely are, too.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I can’t believe people are not getting this. He’s creating a fictional scenario of how antivaxers will react to this story. THIS story, not the many years of other events.

          This is brand new information, and yet the scenario he describes would take weeks, months, or even years to play out to get the conclusions he has come up with.

          I certainly buy into his THEORY, but he wrote it like it already happened.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            It did. Your continued insistence that it didn’t doesn’t change that fact.

            Now please STFU and GTFO. Every post you make causes the internet to become a little more stupid.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              And every post you make causes the internet to be a little more inflamed.

              Seriously, are you even capable of having a real conversation with being overly-angry, dickish, bullheaded, or close-minded? This comes from several years of listening to you on this blof site. I’ve yet to see you be polite, ever. I wonder how much real human interaction you get outside of pissing contests and beer brawls.

          • kobresia says:

            I get it, as a theory (as you say), but at this point, it’s practically like the theory of gravity.

            Anti-vaxers are so caught-up in their beliefs, that they always find a way to continue to believe. It’s like any other form of faith, debunking one irrational belief just means another one will pop-up or the proponents will find some miniscule shred of doubt in the research, no matter how solid the evidence is, and then claim it debunks everything. Same old story, so I’m not too concerned about the tenses used.

            I prefer to err on the side of compassion when it comes to them, though. Everyone has a blind spot. The only people I find particularly reprehensible are those who prey on the delusional for personal gain. The rest are probably delusional or stupid beyond hope, the only thing that can really be done is to use the legal framework in society to override the choice, or to do our best to limit the spread of the delusion.

        • Kuri says:

          I don’t think my life has been anything close to tragic, unless you’re exaggerating.

          • kobresia says:

            It’s a matter of degree. When someone has middle-aged children who will never be able to even dress themselves, when the kids have outbursts and smack themselves in the head with objects & otherwise need to be restrained from harming themselves, when they will always need babysitters and full-time caregivers even when their parents can no longer care for their children themselves, that’s pretty tragic. It’s heartbreaking, even as an observer. That’s the sort of challenge that I’m talking about.

            Examples from the mild end of the spectrum of autism-related diagnoses are definitely not all that tragic and really just contribute to diversity more than anything else. As far as I know, the anti-vaxers generally aren’t so obsessed with those conditions, they’re more holding-up the old diagnosis standards for autism which were at the more “never will be able to function even remotely autonomously”, severe end of the spectrum.

            • Kuri says:

              Ah, alright, that makes sense.

              Regardless, anti-vaxxers need to shut the fuck up. Not going to be nice there, shut the fuck up. I am not going to put a kid’s well being at risk because they have mental problems.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I honestly am shocked I am not reading more “lose weight you fat fatties!” comments. Instead there is fairly thoughtful discussion.

    Bravo, Consumerist readers. You gave me back some faith in humanity!

    … some.

    • Kuri says:

      Probably because people can see what a crock of shit this is.

      It’s the cool new “disease”.

    • MMD says:

      Give it time.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Some people haven’t had their coffee yet. Give it another hour or so.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I was actually thinking to myself the early risers are probably the work-a-days who are rational and talk to other people like humans should, whereas the late-risers are likely internet flamers who sleep in.

    • Schildkrote says:

      Alternatively: people have been telling them that for YEARS and they haven’t listened. At this point it’s not worth wasting the breath.

      Not like it has anything to do with autism, but still.

  12. MMD says:

    “There’s not enough evidence to leap to the conclusion that obesity directly contributes to an increased chance of autism…”

    And yet, here’s another story with another headline that *declares* that very conclusion.

    Would it kill journalists to write headlines that communicate the ambiguity of the study? “Obese Moms *MAY* Birth Kids with Greater Autism Risk”? “Study: *Possible* Maternal Obesity-Autism Link”? It’s not that hard to more accurately represent these study results.

    • Kuri says:

      A little ambiguity where it counts wouldn’t hurt.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      The title is 100% correct.
      “Study: Obese Moms Birth Kids with Greater Risk of Autism”.
      The study has stated or implied that obese mothers give birth to children who later develop autism more often than other mothers. I’d have to read the study to confirm it, but as I am neither obese nor trying to become pregnant, this is mostly irrelevant to me. Interesting, but irrelevant.

      • MMD says:

        Gotta disagree.

        Any headline trumpeting the results of a study a) oversimplifies the study and b) gives the results greater weight to a single study than is scientifically responsible. In a perfect world, this kind of coverage would be left alone in medical journals until the results are reproducible across multiple, peer-reviewed studies.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      The title of the article is correct. Obese mothers have a higher chance of giving birth to babies with autism.

      That’s what this study shows. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s no ambiguity to that fact at all.

      Note that nowhere is anyone saying that obesity is the direct cause of autism. The researchers are pointing out a significant correlation. The resulting conclusion being that obese mothers are at a higher risk of having autistic children. Period.

      • MMD says:

        That’s rich coming from you, after the rant you posted above about the anti-vaccination crowd.

        You know what got that whole thing started? A British study published in 1998 which claimed a vaccine-autism link. That study got widely reported in the mass media and started the anti-vaccination trend. That study has since been retracted, but the damage done by media reports continues.

        How do you know that this study won’t also be retracted a couple of years down the road? You don’t, but you’re willing to make definitive claims based on your interpretation of a sloppily reported story.

        Bottom line: it’s irresponsible to report the results of single studies unless that reporting stresses that these findings are theories, not facts. More studies need to be done before we can definitively say that there’s a link between maternal obesity and autism. Period.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

          Because the Journal Pediatrics is a peer-reviewed journal?

          • MMD says:

            We need *multiple* studies to actually confirm anything.

            The study that (falsely) linked autism to vaccinations was also published in a peer-reviewed journal.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          “unless that reporting stresses that these findings are theories, not facts.”

          Caught you. Only wildly anti-reality morons are still doing the moronic wordplay on “theory” vs. “fact.”

          Your act is over. Move along.

    • longfeltwant says:

      The problem is not the headline; the problem is you; the problem is that apparently you don’t know how to interpret perfectly clear and factual sentences. The English language is subtle, and this headline perfectly leverages that subtlety; this headline perfectly delivers the exactitude that you purport to demand.

  13. cspschofield says:

    “Hey, they discovered a food that they’re sure DOESN’T cause cancer!”

    “That’s good news.”

    “Not really. It’s liver.”

  14. llamatron2k says:

    Doesn’t this lend some credence to the “Immune Event” theory of autism?

    As in…..there is also a very large coincidence of obesity and psoriasis. And obesity and diabetes. And obesity and thyroid issues. All of these coincidental conditions have associations with faulty immune systems.

    Could it be possible that somehow, something is causing ALL of these in tandem?

  15. Nyxalinth says:

    Next, Obesity will be blamed for higher gas prices, trolling on the internet, war in the middle east, and Mitt Romney (or for the conservatives here, the President).

  16. oldtaku says:

    It’s quite possible that all the nasty stuff you’re eating that’s making you fat (HFCS chock full of ‘low’ levels of pesticides used on the corn, say) is also poisoning the kid. It wouldn’t be being fat that leads to autism, they’d both be side effects.

    • Thalia says:

      Could be that correlative conditions these “scientists” didn’t bother correcting for, like immune issues, sugar absorption issues, or blood pressure issues, actually are causing the problem.

  17. Thalia says:

    Given that they deliberately failed to correct for other health effects which correlate with obesity but are not necessarily associated with it I give this an F for “study with a conclusion in mind.” You’ll notice that the normal weight women were also with normal blood sugar and normal blood pressure. The obese women, on the other hand, were not. Not classy, scientists. Not classy at all.

  18. Perdair says:

    I may be doing the math wrong, but a quick Google search puts the incidence of autism at 6.7 out of 1000 births, so like 0.7%? 67% greater than that comes out to 1.1%? Is an increase of 0.4% something to worry about?

    I am always skeptical of studies that claim a “percent higher chance” because they can use a high scary number like “67%” but they fail (at least in the press releases) to list what that really means.

    Like, if I say, “Buying an two lotto tickets instead of one DOUBLES your chances of winning!” It’s technically true, but does that 2 in however ever many million chance really differ from 1 in however many millions?

  19. lonestarbl says:

    I would think the message here may have to do with the quality of food that results in the mother being obese during pregnancy. Likely a stream of corn syrup laden beverages, chips and hot dogs deserve a closer look

  20. suburbancowboy says:

    I’m just going to throw this completely unscientific guess out there and say that autism is linked to consumption of aspartame.