Online Program

Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in 4 - 17 years old population: Puerto Rico, 2011

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ilia Torres, MS, Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, PR, San Juan, PR
Jose Cordero, MD, MPH, UPR School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Annie Alonso, PsyD, Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities,Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, PR, San Juan, PR
Hernando Mattei, PhD, Department of Social Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Background: Although it is now recognized that Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is highly prevalent, there is limited data on the epidemiology of ASD in Hispanic populations. We conducted a population-based survey of ASD among 4 to 17 year old children in Puerto Rico (PR) in 2011. Objective: Estimate the prevalence of ASD in PR, its comorbidities, and the impact on the health system. Methods: Conducted a telephone-based random-digit-dial of the 9 health regions of PR using a structured survey based on questions of the National Survey of Children Health (NSCH) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) translated to Spanish. ASD was defined based on parent or guardian report: a health care provider indicated that the child has an ASD. Results: The prevalence of ASD was 1.62% [95% IC: 1.4-1.9]. The gender ratio was 6.5:1. Prevalence by health region was similar and not statistically different from the island-wide rate of ASD. Comorbid disorders were frequently reported including gastrointestinal conditions (30%), food allergies (23%) and respiratory allergies (30%) among others. Insurance coverage was 98%, but nearly half reported that insurance did not cover the needed health services. Conclusions: ASD in Puerto Rico is among the highest in the United States following New Jersey and Utah. Comorbid conditions are common among individuals with ASD and there is an important gap in health coverage among those with health insurance. These results underscore the urgent need to increase efforts to address needs of families impacted by ASD at all ages in Puerto Rico.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among 4-17 years old population in a Hispanic population. Discuss the socio-demographic characteristics and service needs of 4-17 years old population with ASD.

Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Children and Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a master degree in epidemiology. In addition to be co-author of this study, I am the coordinator of the research and evaluation unit in the Institute on Developmental Disabilities and co-author of many research proposals focusing on the disability population. I also worked as a trainee at NCBDDD/CDC with the autism work team. Among my scientific interests are topics such as mental health, disability, and autism.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.