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ADHD Rates Soar in U.S. Kids: Study
Date:11/10/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of U.S. children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) jumped nearly 22 percent in a recent four-year period, meaning nearly one in every 10 kids is now diagnosed with the disorder, U.S. health officials report.

"Based on our parent surveys, there has been an increase in parent-reported ADHD diagnosis among their children," said lead author Susanna Visser of the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This increase was from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007," she said. "When we project that to the American population, that means that a million more children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2007 as compared to 2003. That's a substantial increase in four years."

About 5.4 million children have ADHD in the United States, according to their parents, and 2.7 million take medication for the condition, the CDC survey of 4- to 17-year-olds found.

"There are probably more children out there who have not received a diagnosis and we can't determine how many more children there are based on these data," added Visser, lead epidemiologist of the child development studies team at the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

ADHD, a neurobehavioral disorder, is characterized by levels of inattention and activity that are developmentally inappropriate. The condition can persist into adulthood.

Among older teens, the rate of ADHD soared 42 percent, the researchers found. This suggests that health care providers may be managing a larger and different population of children than they were four years ago.

"We don't know as well how to manage ADHD among older teens," Visser said. "Regardless of why we are seeing this, the end result is that health care providers are going to modify their care approach to consider the needs of older teens," she said.


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