MONDAY, Dec. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of ever-diagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is 2.79 percent in the United States, with state-level variations in prevalence, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Guifeng Xu, M.D., from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and colleagues used cross-sectional data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health to estimate the prevalence and treatment patterns of ASD among young children. Data were included for 43,032 children aged 3 to 17 years and were obtained from questionnaires completed by a parent or guardian.

The researchers found the weighted prevalence of ever-diagnosed and current ASD was 2.79 and 2.50 percent, respectively. There was variation in the state-level prevalence of ever-diagnosed ASD from 1.54 percent in Texas to 4.88 percent in Florida. About 70 percent of children with current ASD were treated nationally: 43.3, 6.9, and 20.3 percent received behavioral treatment only, medication only, and both behavioral and medication treatments, respectively; 29.5 percent did not receive behavioral or medication treatment.

“Continued monitoring of the prevalence and treatment of ASD is warranted,” the authors write. “Future research and policy efforts are critically needed to understand and address the barriers for children with ASD to receive appropriate treatments.”

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