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About 5 Percent of U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosis less common in black and Hispanic children and girls

WEDNESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- About 5 percent of all U.S. children are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but children who are female, black and Hispanic are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and diagnoses are higher in some regions than others, according to a study published in the April issue of Pediatrics.

Helen Schneider, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Austin, and a colleague studied the likelihood of ADHD diagnosis in 9,278 U.S. elementary school children in the nationally representative 2002 Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey--Kindergarten Cohort.

The researchers found 5.44 percent of the children were diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD diagnoses were less common in children who were female, black or Hispanic, children living with their biological father, and children living in the western United States. ADHD diagnoses were more common in children with an older teacher, and in schools overseen by more stringent state accountability laws, the researchers report.

"ADHD diagnosis is likely to be influenced by a child's social and school environment as well as exogenous child characteristics," the authors write. "Concerns that increased pressures for school performance are associated with increased ADHD diagnoses may be justified."

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