New research released from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is baffling health experts.
The study shows that the number of Latino children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is significantly lower than all other ethnicities.
In the 15 years the Youth Enhancement Services Clinic has been around they have become known for their specialization.
“About 28 percent of the clients we serve are diagnosed with a type of ADHD,” says Roberto Suarez, Program Manager for the clinic run by the San Ysidro Health Center.
With the clinic's focus on the Latino community, Suarez says many families do not seek assistance themselves.
"The children with Attention Deficit [Hyperactive] Disorder are the ones that get referred the most by the schools," he said.
According to data released by the CDC, Latino children are diagnosed with ADHD about half as often the any other ethnicity. The study also shows that even Latino children who are diagnosed are medicated at a significantly lower rate. For many, the reason remains a subject of debate.
"Maybe in the Caucasian community it might be more acceptable,” says Suarez.
The Marriage and Family therapist also believes a lack of education about mental health services may play a factor when it comes to Latinos, “maybe because they aren't identified for one thing,” Suarez says.
Some experts believe a cultural stigma of ADHD could also be a reason. But while the theories are endless, Suarez says one issue is clear.
"I think there's a big need in the community and the more information the community has as far as what's available and if they need services, it's here."
The CDC’s findings also reveal that roughly 3.9 percent of Latino children over the past decade were reported by their parents to have been diagnosed with ADHD, compared to 7.8 percent among white children and 6.3 percent among African-American children.