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Disabil Health J. 2009 Jan;2(1):45-8. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2008.08.001.

Prevalence of cerebral palsy: Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, three sites, United States, 2004.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53705, USA.



Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of motor disability in children and an important public health issue in the United States. The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is a multisite program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine trends in the prevalence of children with developmental disabilities, including CP, in the United States. This report describes population-based estimates of CP prevalence among 8-year-old children in three sites in the United States.


The ADDM Network conducted surveillance of CP among 8-year-old children living in north central Alabama, metropolitan Atlanta, and south central Wisconsin in 2004 (N = 68,272). This multisite collaboration involved the retrospective collection, linking, and analysis of data from multiple service providers and the population census estimates.


The average prevalence of CP in 2004 across the three sites was 3.3 per 1,000 (95% confidence interval, 2.9-3.8). The prevalence was significantly higher in boys than in girls overall (male/female ratio, 1.4:1). The most common subtype across all three sites was spastic CP, ranging from 85% in Georgia to 89% in Alabama and Wisconsin.


Ongoing, systematic, population-based surveillance in different areas of the United States is needed to describe and monitor CP prevalence. In addition, enhancing the surveillance system to include information about functional abilities is needed to better understand the public health impact of CP and strategies for improving quality of life and participation in activities at home and in the community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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