Healthy Eating ASD

  • End date
    Jul 21, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Penn State University
Updated on 12 September 2021


Most studies which have addressed food selectivity among children with autism spectrum disorders have been conducted in either clinic or home settings. School-based research has been conducted to increase healthy eating, but this research was largely conducted with children without special needs or if children with special needs did participate, they were not identified.

This study will focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables among children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in a school setting.


Food Preference Inventory: A survey of food preference and eating habits, developed by the experimenter, will be provided to the parents/guardians of prospective participants. The Food Preference Inventory is anticipated to take between 10 and 20 mins to complete. The parent/guardian of the prospective participant is asked to return toe inventory to the school if 1) the parent/guardian gives permission for his/her child to participate and 2) if the child does not have a food allergy.

General Procedures: Each day of the study (1-5 days per week), school staff will offer participants a small portion of a fruit or vegetable (about 1/8 cup) to eat during lunch time. The participant will have about 5 min to consume the item before it is recollected by school staff.

Baseline: The fruit or vegetable is presented with the participants lunch. Eating the item produces no programmed consequences.

Single Item Presentation: The fruit or vegetable is presented before the participants lunch (about 5 min). Eating the item produces no programmed consequences.

Single Item Presentation + Modeling: The fruit or vegetable is presented before the participants lunch (about 5 min). School staff will model eating the food item.

Single Item Presentation + Token Economy: The fruit or vegetable is presented before the participants lunch (about 5 min). Eating the item will produce a token (e.g., a sticker or hole punch). Once the student collects a few tokens (e.g., 3-5), he/she can exchange the tokens for a small price (e.g., pencil or crayon).

Data Collection: Data will be collected by school staff. Staff will record whether each participant consume the fruit or vegetable item.

Safety Procedures: School staff will monitor lunch - as they typically do.

Condition Food Selectivity
Treatment Pre Meal Presentation, Pre Meal Presentation + Modeling, Pre Meal Presentation + Token Economy
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04075552
SponsorPenn State University
Last Modified on12 September 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Participants will be students in a private school with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and between 6-14 years of age

Exclusion Criteria

Parents who report their children have food allergies of any kind will be excluded
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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