Day 42 of 99 Days to FASDay: Int’l Prevalence of FASD

Day 42 of 99 days to FASDay

Keeping with our International theme from yesterday, today’s info-graphic reports on world-wide prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The information comes from the report titled:

Estimation of national, regional, and global prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

by Svetlana Popova, Shannon Lange, Charlotte Probst, Gerrit Gmel, Jürgen Rehm 

This report was published in January 2017 by The Lancet Global Health. Copyright © The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. You can download the full report by clicking the link above. It is an Open Access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.

According to the authors:

We aimed to estimate the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and of FAS among the general population, by country, WHO region (ie, African region [AFR], Eastern Mediterranean region [EMR], European region [EUR], region of the Americas [AMR], South-East Asia region [SEAR], and Western Pacific region [WPR]), and globally.

In line with the International Charter on Prevention of FASD, the current study provides the best understanding of the scope of the problem at this time and is intended to both inform and draw the attention of health-care practitioners, public health authorities, policy makers, and government officials.

Although there are currently no confirmed statistics on the number of people in Canada with FASD, the population of Canada in 2017 is 36,634,185.

Rates are estimated anywhere between 1 – 5%:

  • 1% = 366,341 people with FASD.
  • 3% = 1,099,025 people with FASD.
  • 5% = 1,831,709 people with FASD.

Therefore, in Canada, there are between 366,341 – 1,831,709 people with FASD. It is also important to note that the prevalence of FASD is currently unknown. The most commonly cited rough estimate of the prevalence of FASD is 9 per 1,000 (Roberts & Nanson, 2000).

The Canada FASD Research Network (CanFASD) uses a 4% prevalence.


2018 Update:

A report released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health earlier this year revealed a prevalence rate of up to 3%.

The results were based on a survey of 2,555 seven- to nine-year-olds in the Greater Toronto Area, one of the largest sample sizes used in a Canadian study and according to the team’s lead researcher, Dr. Svetlana Popova, the first survey reflective of Canada’s diverse population.

We are more confident now, she says, that FASD can happen to anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status.

Previous Canadian studies on FASD have focused on narrow groups such as kids in care. They have also relied on medical records to estimate the prevalence of the disorder.

But as Popova explains, many children with FASD are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. So her team — which included leading geneticists, psychologists and pediatricians — independently assessed each student.

The above information is from an article on the Toronto CAS website.

Dr. Popova explained during media interviews after the release of the report that even 3% was low because reporting of drinking by participants was likely downplayed and less than half responded to requests for participation.

For more information on this Study, and links to news articles, check out: What a week for FASD in Ontario  (last part of page).

According to a 2016 Health Review on FASD by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking:  Information on the prevalence of FASD, both globally and in individual countries, is scarce, and where it exists, is highly varied and of questionable reliability.

While it has been suggested that, globally, 5% of all pregnancies may result in children with FASD, individual studies cover few countries, where they often focus on small populations. 

The IARD Review reported the following statistics for FASD prevalence:

  • Australia: 0.26 per 1,000 live births
  • Canada: 9 per 1,000 live births
  • Norway: 0.3 per 1,000 births
  • Israel: 150 per 1,000 among pre-adoption and foster children
  • Italy: 36 per 1,000 school children
  • New Zealand: 0.11 per 1,000 births
  • South Africa: 113.22 per 1,000 births
  • United States: 16.5 per 1,000 school children

Tomorrow we look at cost of FASD.

3 thoughts on “Day 42 of 99 Days to FASDay: Int’l Prevalence of FASD

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