A large study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found that those born in December were more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Researchers from University of British Colombia surveyed more than 937,000 children who were aged between 6 and 12 years during the study period of 1997 to 2008. The researchers found that girls who were born in December were 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared to those who were born in January. Similarly December boys were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared to their classmates born in January.
The researchers also found that many children were given ADHD drugs simply because they were less mature than other children in their class. Over 77 percent of girls and 41 percent of boys born in December were more likely to be given ADHD medications compared to those born in January.
"Our study suggests younger, less mature children are inappropriately being labeled and treated. It is important not to expose children to potential harms from unnecessary diagnosis and use of medications", lead researcher Richard Morrow said.