January 21, 2013
Science Daily/Kaiser Permanente
The rate of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder rose dramatically between 2001 and 2010, with non-Hispanic white children having the highest diagnosis rates, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics (formerly Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine). The study also showed there was a 90 percent increase in the diagnosis of ADHD among non-Hispanic black girls during the same nine-year period.
The study examined the electronic health records of nearly 850,000 ethnically diverse children, aged 5 to 11 years, who received care at Kaiser Permanente Southern California between 2001 and 2010.
It found that among these children, 4.9 percent, or 39,200, had a diagnosis of ADHD, with white and black children more likely to be diagnosed with the neurobehavioral disorder than Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islander children. For instance, in 2010, 5.6 percent of white children in the study had an ADHD diagnosis; 4.1 percent of blacks; 2.5 percent of Hispanics; and 1.2 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders.
"While the reasons for increasing ADHD rates are not well understood, contributing factors may include heightened awareness of ADHD among parents and physicians, which could have led to increased screening and treatment," said Dr. Getahun. "This variability may indicate the need for different allocation of resources for ADHD prevention programs, and may point to new risk factors or inequalities in care."