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Are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Common In the United States?

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A recent cross-sectional study of over 13,000 first-grade children in four regions of the United States was designed to estimate the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, including fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are costly, life-long disabilities.

Older data suggested the prevalence of the disorder in the United States was 10 per 1000 children; however, there are few current estimates based on larger, diverse US population samples.

Out of a total of 6,639 children who were selected for participation, a total of 222 cases of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders were identified.

The conservative prevalence estimates for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders ranged from 11.3 per 1,000 children. The weighted prevalence estimates for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders ranged from 31.1 per 1,000 children.

Estimated prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among first-graders in 4 US communities ranged from 1.1% to 5.0% using a conservative approach. These findings may represent more accurate US prevalence estimates than previous studies but may not be generalizable to all communities.

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

Original author: Ezra