New research in Canada on the prevalence of FASD shows alarmingly high rates of the disability in the general population. Flannigan, Unsworth, and Harding (2018) write that “based on evidence in two recent studies … our current best estimate for the prevalence of FASD in the general Canadian population is 4%”. There has been limited research into FASD prevalence in Australia, with the Australian Medical Association stating “few accurate data on the prevalence of FASD in Australia is available but it is estimated that FASD affects roughly between 2% and 5% of the population in the United States.” As estimates of FASD prevalence continue to increase worldwide, it is likely that the prevalence of FASD in Australia is also higher than previously estimated.

NOFASD Australia would like to thank CanFASD for this important research. Their latest publications are outlined below.

CanFASD Issue Paper» The Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
“Over the years, researchers have used various methodologies and examined a range of geographical regions and populations around the world in their efforts to establish prevalence rates. Because of these differing approaches, FASD prevalence findings have not always been consistent. The purpose of this issue paper is to share the most up-to- date research findings, and to provide clarity around the question, “How many people have FASD?”

CanFASD Issue Paper» FASD Prevalence in Special Populations
“The goal of this issue paper is to take a closer look at the research on special populations that may be at greater risk for FASD, including children in care, individuals involved in the justice system, and Indigenous communities. This examination is critical to understanding the demographic, social, geographical, and cultural factors that underlie drinking during pregnancy, and which groups may warrant additional support to ensure healthy outcomes.”

World Health Organization International Study on the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) – Canadian Component
“Population-based prevalence data on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among the general population of Canada are unavailable. To fill this gap, the objective of this study was to determine the population-based prevalence of FASD among elementary school students in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada.”

Global Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Among Children and Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
“The objective of this study was to obtain prevalence estimates of FASD among children and youth in the general population by country, by World Health Organization (WHO) region, and globally. The findings highlight the need to establish a universal public health message about the potential harm of prenatal alcohol exposure and a routine screening protocol.”

Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in 4 US Communities
The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of FASD in 4 regions of the United States, and concluded that the estimated prevalence of FASD among first-graders in the 4 US communities ranged from 1.1% to 5.0% using a conservative approach.”

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