COMMENTARY | According to Good Morning America, a study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests the risk of autism increases with mothers who are obese, hypertensive or diabetic. But the report states obesity and autism are on the rise, and I believe the connection between the two likely stops there.
Autism, like cancer, is one of those unfortunate things that seems to have no good explanation regardless of how hard the medical community tries to find one. Just as seemingly everything causes cancer, the straw-grasp for the cause of autism goes on. I remember several years where it seemed nearly certain that vaccines were the culprit of autism. Now, for the past several years, the answer to the concern over vaccines is they do not cause autism.
According to Dr. Susan Hyman of the University of Rochester Medical Center, autism is believed to be caused by an interaction of multiple genetic and environmental influences. Meaning the medical community doesn't really know. I would be willing to bet if it ever finally does find the precise recipe, it's not going to be obesity. Diabetes or hypertension? Perhaps, if diabetes or high blood pressure is found to effect neurological development. But those things aren't obesity. They can exist side-by-side with obesity; obesity can sometimes produce those conditions. But those conditions can also exist without obesity.
Without a doubt, obesity does lead to health issues. Those issues are mainly personal ones, but it doesn't take a doctor to know that unhealthy eating habits can be passed along from parent to child. Without a doubt, a mother's healthy lifestyle is a good thing for a child both before and after it is born. But to simply say "obesity causes autism" is careless. Every bit as careless, perhaps, as saying vaccines cause autism. The truth is, we don't really know what causes it, though it will be a wonderful day when we finally figure it out.