Life / Health

Youngest kids in the class more likely to be medicated for ADHD: study

The study looked at more than 300,000 Australian kids, and the findings echo a Canadian study from 2012.


Whether a child is born early or late in the school year can be an indicator of how likely they are to be medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – or ADHD – according a new Australian study.

Published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday, the study found that children born in the last possible month of school year admission were significantly more likely to receive “pharmacological treatment” for the disorder than children born in the first possible month of admission.

In other words, the youngest kids in the class are far more likely to be medicated for ADHD.

Among children six to 10 years of age specifically, the younger group were twice as likely to be medicated. Other findings include a higher proportion of boys receiving medical attention for ADHD than girls.

The study looked at more than 300,000 children in the state of Western Australia.

The paper is line with similar studies, including one that looked at almost 1 million Canadian children in 2012. It found the youngest boys in the class were 30 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, and 41 per cent more likely to be medicated.

This comes less than a week after research found that one in 20 children Ontario are diagnosed with ADHD, and many of them are prescribed antipsychotic drugs -- despite not having any other other mental health diagnoses.

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