The overall prevalence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis was significantly lower for a group of Dane County children than rates reported for eastern Wisconsin and Milwaukee County, according to a report in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 112, no. 1). The researchers also noted that diagnosis rates among black youths were similar for the two counties; however, rates for white youths were three times lower in Dane County than Milwaukee County.
The exact etiology of ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests in childhood, is unknown; however, genetic and geo-demographic factors traditionally have been implicated.
The Dane County study included almost 8,000 children ages 5 to 17, and ADHD diagnosis was present in 3.9 percent of the children, compared to 7.7 percent in Milwaukee County. While the prevalence of ADHD diagnosis among black children was similar in both counties, the prevalence among white children in Dane County was 4 percent, compared with 12.6 percent in Milwaukee County.
When comparing children with ADHD diagnosis to those without, there were no significant differences in linked geo-demographic factors such as population density, median household income, percent owner-occupied housing, household size or household distance to the nearest park or waterway, the report noted.
“By better understanding factors and disparities leading to a diagnosis of ADHD (whether socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, environmental or issues of access), better decisions regarding appropriate treatment can be made and families, health care workers, educators, funders and policy makers can be better informed,” the authors wrote.
Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest.
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