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Cerebral Palsy Occurrence in the US

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood, affecting approximately 1 in 303 8-year-old children in the US.

Girl on tricycle: Cerebral Palsy effects approximately 1 in 303 8-year-old children in the US

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is one of the developmental disabilities that is tracked by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a multi-site surveillance program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers from the ADDM Network recently released a report on the prevalence (occurrence) and features of CP in 8-year-old children living in four areas of the United States in 2006. This report is the first multi-site, population-based study in the US to provide estimates of co-occurring developmental disabilities, gross motor function, and walking ability among children with CP. This report also presents updated CP prevalence data.

For 2006, the ADDM CP Network reported that:

  • The average prevalence of CP was approximately 3.3 per 1,000 or 1 in every 303 8-year-old children living in areas of Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin;
  • CP prevalence varied by site, ranging from 2.9 per 1,000 8-year-olds in Wisconsin to 3.8 per 1,000 8-year-olds in Georgia;
  • Overall, CP prevalence was significantly lower among Hispanic children than among Black or White children;
  • CP, on average, occurred 1.2 times more frequently among boys than among girls;
  • Spastic CP was the most common type of CP, found among approximately 80% of children with CP; and
  • While 56% of children with CP were able to walk independently, 33% had limited or no walking ability.

Children with CP and their families have a pressing need for enhanced health, education, and intervention services. Population-based data on CP prevalence, level of function, and co-occurring developmental disabilities can increase our understanding of the complexities of CP and inform planning for services and community participation.

Chart: Demographic characteristics of cerebral palsy prevalence estimates by site, Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 200 (per 1000, 8-year-old children).

More Information

Reference

Kirby RS, Wingate MS, Van Naarden Braun K, Doernberg NS, Arneson CL, Benedict RE, Mulvihill B, Durkin MS, Fitzgerald RT, Maenner MJ, Patz JA, Yeargin-Allsopp M. "Prevalence and functioning of children with cerebral palsy in four areas of the United States in 2006: a report from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network." Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Mar-Apr;32(2):462-9. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

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