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Global prevalence of developmental disabilities in children and adolescents: a systematic umbrella review

Olusanya, Bolajoko O., Smythe, Tracey, Ogbo, Felix A., Nair, M. K.C., Scher, Mark and Davis, Adrian C. (2023) Global prevalence of developmental disabilities in children and adolescents: a systematic umbrella review. Frontiers in Public Health, 11. ISSN 2296-2565

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Identification Number: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1122009


Aim: The provisions of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for disability-inclusive education have stimulated a growing interest in ascertaining the prevalence of children with developmental disabilities globally. We aimed to systematically summarize the prevalence estimates of developmental disabilities in children and adolescents reported in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Methods: For this umbrella review we searched PubMed, Scopus, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library for systematic reviews published in English between September 2015 and August 2022. Two reviewers independently assessed study eligibility, extracted the data, and assessed risk of bias. We reported the proportion of the global prevalence estimates attributed to country income levels for specific developmental disabilities. Prevalence estimates for the selected disabilities were compared with those reported in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2019. Results: Based on our inclusion criteria, 10 systematic reviews reporting prevalence estimates for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, developmental intellectual disability, epilepsy, hearing loss, vision loss and developmental dyslexia were selected from 3,456 identified articles. Global prevalence estimates were derived from cohorts in high-income countries in all cases except epilepsy and were calculated from nine to 56 countries. Sensory impairments were the most prevalent disabilities (approximately 13%) and cerebral palsy was the least prevalent disability (approximately 0.2–0.3%) based on the eligible reviews. Pooled estimates for geographical regions were available for vision loss and developmental dyslexia. All studies had a moderate to high risk of bias. GBD prevalence estimates were lower for all disabilities except cerebral palsy and intellectual disability. Conclusion: Available estimates from systematic reviews and meta-analyses do not provide representative evidence on the global and regional prevalence of developmental disabilities among children and adolescents due to limited geographical coverage and substantial heterogeneity in methodology across studies. Population-based data for all regions using other approaches such as reported in the GBD Study are warranted to inform global health policy and intervention.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s).
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
L Education
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2023 16:24
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 19:42

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