Introduction: Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) demonstrate poor health-related behaviors, such as nutrition, compared to their typically developed (TD) counterparts. With the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic and mandatory stay-at-home orders, such health-related behaviors may be complicated and there is a need to focus on feasibility and acceptability of in-person and remote-based nutrition programs.
Methods: Eleven high school students with ASD were recruited to participate in a modified nutrition program utilizing Zoom software during COVID-19. The duration was once a week for four weeks, and concepts reviewed included shopping for healthy food on a budget, introducing non-perishable but nutritious food items, and food preparation safety measures.
Results: Ninety-seven percent of participants attended the remote-based nutrition program, while 87% attended the in-person nutrition program. While in-person demonstrated benefits including face-to-face interaction and hands-on cooking, the remote-based component demonstrated a high degree of feasibility and acceptability. Half of the students felt their health-related behaviors were negatively impacted by COVID-19 but reported that the implementation of the remote-based nutrition program positively impacted their nutrition choices.
Conclusion: The enforcement of health-related behaviors in adolescents with ASD is significant especially during disaster-related situations. Future research should focus on efficacy and intertwining methods of in-person and remote-based learning of a nutrition or other health-related behavioral interventions in this population.
Garcia, Jeanette M.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Health and Public Affairs
Health Sciences; Health Promotion
Shurack, Riley H., "Evaluation of Remote-Based Learning of a Nutrition Program for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A COVID-19 Pilot Study" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 866.
Restricted to the UCF community until 12-1-2020; it will then be open access.