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Are ethnic minorities more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Children from different ethnic groups appear to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at similar rates, although the diagnosis rates may not represent the number of children who actually have ADHD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2007 showed that white and black children were diagnosed with ADHD equally, at about 7% of the population. Hispanic or Latino children were slightly less likely to have ADHD, at 5%. But, according to the National Resource Center on ADHD, African American children may not be referred for ADHD treatment as often as they should be. And minority children are less likely to receive medication treatment than white children. Children from  minority groups may be underdiagnosed and undertreated for ADHD.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
According to the data alone, black and Hispanic children are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than Caucasian children. But that may be changing. The rate of diagnosis for Hispanics increased by more than 50% in the last decade. Why? It may be that cultural acceptance of ADHD is increasing in their communities, or simply that schools are making it easier to get help for these kids. Among black kids, though, diagnosis still lags. One review found that African-American children were more likely to have ADHD symptoms than Caucasian children, yet were diagnosed one-third less often. What these kids need are parents and teachers who know more about ADHD, and more access to healthcare professionals who can give them accurate diagnoses and help.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.