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Vital Health Stat 10. 2002 May;(206):1-12.

Attention Deficit Disorder and Learning Disability: United States, 1997-98.

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  • 1Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Epidemiology, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782-2003, USA.



This report presents national estimates of the prevalence of diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and/or Learning Disability (LD) in U.S. children. Differences in the prevalence of these conditions are examined for children with selected sociodemographic characteristics. The occurrence of other health conditions and use of educational and health care services are contrasted for children with only ADD, those with only LD, those with both diagnoses, and those with neither diagnosis.


Estimates in this report are based on data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a national household survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States. The analysis focuses on 8,647 children 6-11 years of age in the 1997 and 1998 NHIS.


In 1997-98 over 2.6 million children 6-11 years of age were reported to have ever had a diagnosis of ADD or LD. A diagnosis of only ADD was reported for 3 percent of children, a diagnosis of only LD for 4 percent, and a diagnosis of both conditions for 4 percent. The prevalence of ADD with or without LD was greater for boys than for girls. Having health insurance was associated with a diagnosis of only ADD. Living in a low-income or mother-only family occurred more often among children with a diagnosis of LD. Children with LD were nearly five times more likely to be in special education than children with a diagnosis of only ADD. Children with ADD, in contrast to children without this diagnosis, more often had contact with a mental health professional, used prescription medication regularly, and had frequent health care visits.

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