Assessing the Global Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

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The highest prevalence was seen in the WHO European Region.
The highest prevalence was seen in the WHO European Region.

HealthDay News — The global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among children is estimated at 7.7 per 1000 in the general population, according to a review published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Shannon Lange, MPH, from the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research in Toronto, and colleagues obtained prevalence estimates of FASD among children in the general population by country, World Health Organization (WHO) region, and globally. The authors extracted data on individual study characteristics and prevalence of FASD based on 24 unique studies with 1416 unique children diagnosed with FASD.

The researchers found that the global prevalence of FASD among children was estimated at 7.7 per 1000 in the general population. 

The highest prevalence was seen in the WHO European Region (19.8 per 1000 population), and the lowest was seen in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (0.1 per 1000 population). South Africa was estimated to have the highest prevalence of FASD of 187 countries, followed by Croatia and Ireland (111.1, 53.3, and 47.5 per 1000 population, respectively).

"The findings highlight the need to establish a universal public health message about the potential harm of prenatal alcohol exposure and a routine screening protocol," the authors wrote. "Brief interventions should be provided, where appropriate."

Reference

Lange S, Probst C, Gmel G, Rehm J, Burd L, Popova S. Global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder among children and youth: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published online August 21, 2017]. JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1919

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