Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Drinking alcohol while pregnant may lead to a number of conditions in the child that fall within the umbrella of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including small head size, low body weight, hyperactive behavior, poor memory, learning disabilities, vision or hearing problems, poor reasoning, and many more. [USAPAS27] It is difficult to get estimates of the number of people who have FASD given different approaches to diagnosing these conditions. Some research suggests that the number of children with FASD may be as high as 1 to 5 per 100 school children. [USAPAS28] Overall, the cost for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome alone is estimated at over $4 billion annually. [USAPAS29]


USAPA27 - Streissguth, A.P., Barr, H.M., Kogan, J. & Bookstein, F. L., Understanding the occurrence of secondary disabilities in clients with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). Final report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seattle: University of Washington, Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit; August 1996. Tech. Rep. No. 96-06.

USAPA28 -  3 May PA, Baete A, Russo J, Elliott AJ, Blankenship J, Kalberg WO, Buckley D, Brooks M, Hasken J, Abdul-Rahman O, Adam MP, Robinson LK, Manning M, Hoyme HE. Prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2014;134:855-66. [Read summary]
4 May PA, Gossage JP, Kalberg WO, Robinson LK, Buckley D, Manning M, Hoyme HE. Prevalence and epidemiologic characteristics of FASD from various research methods with an emphasis on recent in-school studies. Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2009;15:176-92. [Read summary]
5 May PA, Chambers CD, Kalberg WO, Zellner J, Feldman H, Buckley D, Kopald D, Hasken JM, Xu R, Honerkamp-Smith G, Taras H, Manning MA, Robinson LK,  Adam MP, Abdul-Rahman O, Vaux K, Jewett T, Elliott AJ, Kable JA, Akshoomoff N, Falk D, Arroyo JA, Hereld D, Riley EP, Charness ME, Coles CD, Warren KR, Jones KL, Hoyme HE. Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in 4 US Communities. Journal of American Medical Association. 2018;319(5):474–482. [Read article]
 - Lupton, C., Burd, L., & Harwood, R. (2004, May). Cost of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. In American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics (Vol. 127, No. 1, pp. 42-50). Hoboken: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company. World Health Organization, & World Health Organization. Management of Substance Abuse Unit. (2014). Global status report on alcohol and health, 2014. World Health Organization.



The U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance (USAPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization translating alcohol policy research into public health practice. The Alliance is committed to ensuring that local and statewide organizations engaging in alcohol policy initiatives have access to the science, resources and technical assistance, including support for organizing efforts, required to engage in informed decisions and actions in translating alcohol policy research into public health practice.

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