Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Prevalence Up

Prevalence in children aged 4 to 17 years increased 21.8 percent between 2003 and 2007

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of children aged 4 to 17 with a parent-reported attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis increased more than 20 percent between 2003 and 2007, with particularly notable increases among older teenagers and Hispanic children, according to a report published in the Nov. 12 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report provided results from the second administration of the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) in 2007, which was a national, cross-sectional, random-digit-dialed landline telephone survey used to estimate the prevalence of health and well-being indicators among children. A total of 91,642 interviews were completed for the 2007 NSCH between April 2007 and July 2008, with complete information on ADHD and gender obtained for 73,123 children aged 4 to 17 years.

The report revealed that the percentage of children who had ever had a parent-reported ADHD diagnosis increased from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007, representing a 21.8 percent increase. The increase was 42 percent among older teens and 53 percent among Hispanic children. In addition, 66.3 percent of children with current ADHD were taking medication for the disorder, with 4.8 percent of all children aged 4 to 17 years taking medication for ADHD.

"Ongoing surveillance is critical to understanding the public health effect of ADHD and the needs of a growing number of families affected by this disorder," the authors write.

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