FRIDAY, Sept. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Between 2009 and 2017, the prevalence of developmental disability increased among U.S. children aged 3 to 17 years, according to a study published online Sept. 26 in Pediatrics.

Benjamin Zablotsky, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the 2009 to 2017 National Health Interview Survey to examine the national prevalence of 10 developmental disabilities in U.S. children aged 3 to 17 years and explore changes over time by associated characteristics.

The researchers observed overall significant increases in the prevalence of any developmental disability from 2009-2011 to 2015-2017 (16.2 to 17.8 percent), and in the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (8.5 to 9.5 percent), autism spectrum disorder (1.1 to 2.5 percent), and intellectual disability (0.9 to 1.2 percent); a significant decrease was seen for any other developmental delay (4.7 to 4.1 percent). The investigators noted an increase in the prevalence of any developmental disability among boys, older children, non-Hispanic white and Hispanic children, children with private insurance only, children with birth weight ≥2,500 g, and children living in urban areas and with less-educated mothers.

“Given this growth, additional research may help to better understand the characteristics of children with developmental disabilities, the complex risk factors associated with developmental disabilities, and the accessibility of services and interventions, which have been shown to improve long-term outcomes for those diagnosed with a developmental disability,” the authors write.

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