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Kaiser Permanente Study Finds Childhood Diagnosis Of ADHD Increased Dramatically Over Nine-Year Period

PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The rate of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder rose dramatically between 2001 and 2010, with non-Hispanic white children having the highest diagnosis rates, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics (formerly Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine) . The study also showed there was a 90 percent increase in the diagnosis of ADHD among non-Hispanic black girls during the same nine-year period.

The study examined the electronic health records of nearly 850,000 ethnically diverse children, aged 5 to 11 years, who received care at Kaiser Permanente Southern California between 2001 and 2010. It found that among these children, 4.9 percent, or 39,200, had a diagnosis of ADHD, with white and black children more likely to be diagnosed with the neurobehavioral disorder than Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islander children. For instance, in 2010, 5.6 percent of white children in the study had an ADHD diagnosis; 4.1 percent of blacks; 2.5 percent of Hispanics; and 1.2 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders.

The study also examined increases in the rates of first-time ADHD diagnosis. Researchers found that the incidence of newly diagnosed ADHD cases rose from 2.5 percent in 2001 to 3.1 percent in 2010 — a relative increase of 24 percent. Black children showed the greatest increase in ADHD incidence, from 2.6 percent of all black children 5 to 11 years of age in 2001 to 4.1 percent in 2010, a 70 percent relative increase. Rates among Hispanic children showed a 60 percent relative increase, from 1.7 percent in 2001 to 2.5 percent in 2010. White children showed a 30 percent relative increase, from 4.7 percent in 2001 to 5.6 percent in 2010, while rates for Asian/Pacific Islander children and other racial groups remained unchanged over time.

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