Percentage of Kids With ADHD Has Increased, California Study Finds
For the report, researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Group analyzed the health records of more than 840,000 children ages five to 11 who met a strict definition for ADHD (Weintraub, USA Today, 1/22).
The report found that:
- On average, children were diagnosed when they were between eight-and-a-half and nine-and-a-half years old;
- White children were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than black, Hispanic and Asian children (Pittman, Reuters, 1/21); and
- Boys were three times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
Possible Reasons for Findings
Darios Getahun -- the study's lead author -- said that the increase in diagnoses likely is the result of a growing awareness of the disorder among parents and physicians.
He said findings also might suggest that boys are more susceptible to ADHD than girls or that the condition is overlooked more often in girls.
Reactions to Report
Paul Hammerness of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital disagreed with the findings, saying, "It is my impression that absolute rates are fairly stable over time, from country to country as well."
Benjamin Lahey -- a psychologist at the University of Chicago -- said, "I'm concerned that this paper will raise concerns that are not justified."Lahey said that physicians are notoriously inconsistent in how they diagnose ADHD and that it is possible that Kaiser Permanente health care providers under-diagnosed the disorder in previous years (USA Today, 1/22). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.