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Increased number of Hispanic children diagnosed with ADHD

 Between 2001 and 2010 attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses rose 24 percent for children in the United States, according to data released from a Kaiser Permanente study. Of those children, Hispanics saw a 60 percent increase in ADHD diagnoses, a drastic change for a population with some of the lowest ADHD numbers historically.

While more cases of ADHD among Hispanics may seem like a negative thing, Kaiser researcher Darios Getahun explained to ABC News it may not be more children are developing ADHD, but that more physicians and parents are aware of the disorder and more children are getting the treatment they need.

Hispanics continue to lag, however, in the realm of early diagnosis, with Hispanic children in the study notably being diagnosed with ADHD later in life when compared to children of other ethnicities.

“The timing of the diagnosis is important,” Getahun said to ABC News. “The earlier the diagnosis and the earlier the treatment is initiated, the better the outcome will be for the child.”

Hispanic children still face hurdles regarding early diagnosis and recognition of ADHD. In a 2011 interview, Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, explained to the Boston Globe that lack of awareness certainly played a role in the low ADHD numbers among Hispanic children, but “Latino families have a wait-and-see attitude with troubled children and rely heavily on family interventions.”

The rise in ADHD diagnoses seen in current research may be an indicator such awareness is indeed growing.Delgado explained more awareness of ADHD was needed in the Hispanic community, and because diagnosis was difficult, teachers, parents and medical professionals all needed to have a deep understanding of the disorder.

Approximately 5.2 million children between the ages of three and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD, states the Centers for Disease Control, a number which equates to approximately 8.4 percent of children within that age range. While ADHD is no longer being primarily diagnosed in non-Hispanic white, affluent communities, it is still more prevalent among boys than among girls.


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