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Report examines prevalence of behavioral meds use among kids

Friday April 25, 2014
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Among children ages 6 to 17, 7.5% used prescribed medication during the preceding six months for emotional or behavioral difficulties, according to a new CDC report.

“Over the past two decades, the use of medication to treat mental health problems has increased substantially among all school-aged children and in most subgroups of children,” the authors wrote.

Males and non-Hispanic white children were more likely to use prescribed medication than were females and children of other racial and ethnic groups. For females only, the percentage was higher among older children, according to the data brief by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The rate of use was higher for children with Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage than for children with private health insurance or no health insurance; and higher for children in families living below the federal poverty level.

In 55% of the cases, parents reported the prescribed medication helped their child “a lot.” A higher percentage of males and children in families living at or above the federal poverty level were reported by parents to have been helped a lot, compared with females and children in families living below the federal poverty level.

Full report: www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db148.htm

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