Since Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was first defined in North America in the 1970s, researchers have been working to determine prevalence rates of this disability. The social and economic impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on families and the broader community are profound, thus understanding the scope of the issue is critical. 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?”
FASD Prevalence in Special Populations
Based on the most current research, the estimated prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the general Canadian population is 4%. However, rates of FASD are believed to be much higher in certain groups. 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.
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