9 percent of children aged 5 to 17 years old are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease and Control using data from a 2009 survey. The increase is notable: In 1998, about 7 percent of children were diagnosed with ADHD. The increases were noted in both boys and girls, though boys are still more likely than girls to be diagnosed: 12 percent of boys have an ADHD diagnosis vs. 6 percent of girls.
The data for the CDC’s report was taken from the National Health Interview Survey, in which they interviewed about 40,000 American households representative of the demographics of the whole USA.
The study also found that ADHD prevalence also varies by region and is higher in the Midwest and South. In the Midwest, the ADHD rate rose from 7.1 percent to 10.2 percent; in the South, from 8.1 percent to 10.3 percent.
One new finding: While ADHD rates once varied based on a child’s race and ethnicity, such differences decreased from 1998 to 2009. An earlier study that was based on surveys conducted from 1998 to 2000 found that non-Hispanic white children had a higher ADHD prevalence than other racial groups. The CDC’s new study was based on surveys conducted from 2007 to 2009 and found ADHD prevalence to be similar among non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black children. The CDC notes that Mexican children continue to have a lower ADHD prevalence than children of other racial and ethnic groups.
In addition, while ADHD was previously diagnosed at similar levels children from different income levels, the new report has found that, from 1998 through 2009, ADHD prevalence increased to 10 percent for children with family income less than 100 percent of the poverty level. ADHD prevalence increased to 11 percent for those with family income between 100 percent and 199 percent of the poverty level.
In the Wall Street Journal (via Fox News), Lara Akinbami, the study’s lead researcher, says that “wider access to health- care services and increased recognition of the disorders” are likely reasons for a 30 percent increase in ADHD diagnoses over the past decade. ADHD is now one of the most common mental health disorders of childhood.
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