CanFASD Issue Paper» FASD Prevalence in Special Populations — Based on the most current research, the estimated prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the general Canadian population is 4%. However, rates of FASD are believed to be much higher in certain groups. The goal of this issue paper is to take a closer look at the research on special populations that may be at greater risk for FASD, including children in care, individuals involved in the justice system, and Indigenous communities. This examination is critical to understanding the demographic, social, geographical, and cultural factors that underlie drinking during pregnancy, and which groups may warrant additional support to ensure healthy outcomes.

CanFASD Issue Paper» The Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder — Since Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was first defined in North America in the 1970s, researchers have been working to determine prevalence rates of this disability. The social and economic impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on families and the broader community are profound, thus understanding the scope of the issue is critical. Over the years, researchers have used various methodologies and examined a range of geographical regions and populations around the world in their efforts to establish prevalence rates. Because of these differing approaches, FASD prevalence findings have not always been consistent. The purpose of this issue paper is to share the most up-to- date research findings, and to provide clarity around the question, “How many people have FASD?”

CanFASD Issue Paper» Social and Economic Cost of FASD — The complexity and chronicity of FASD impacts both the individual and their family, and requires a wide range of assistance from services including health care, community services, remedial education and others. As a result, FASD has a substantial economic and societal impact, as these impairments can have lifelong implications.

World Health Organization International Study on the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) – Canadian Component — Population-based prevalence data on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among the general population of Canada are unavailable. To fill this gap, the objective of this study was to determine the population-based prevalence of FASD among elementary school students in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada.

Implications of Higher Than Expected Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders — Discusses the implications of the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in 4 US Communities study.

Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in 4 US Communities — Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are costly, life-long disabilities. Older data suggested the prevalence of the disorder in the United States was 10 per 1000 children; however, there are few current estimates based on larger, diverse US population samples. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of FASD in 4 regions of the United States, and concluded that the estimated prevalence of FASD among first-graders in the 4 US communities ranged from 1.1% to 5.0% using a conservative approach. These findings may represent more accurate US prevalence estimates than previous studies but may not be generalizable to all communities. Supplementary content

Global Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Among Children and Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis — Prevalence estimates are essential to effectively prioritize, plan, and deliver health care to high-needs populations such as children and youth with FASD. However, most countries do not have population-level prevalence data for FASD. The objective of this study was to obtain prevalence estimates of FASD among children and youth in the general population by country, by World Health Organization (WHO) region, and globally. The findings highlight the need to establish a universal public health message about the potential harm of prenatal alcohol exposure and a routine screening protocol. Brief interventions should be provided, where appropriate. Supplementary content

The release of the final report of a three-year research study into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevalence in Yukon’s corrections population has been announced and is available at

Popova, S., Lange, S., Shield, K., Mihic, A., Chudley, A. E., Mukherjee, R. A. S., Bekmuradov, D., & Rehm, J. (2016). Co-morbidity of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis. The Lancet. Published Online January 5th. DOI:

Reid, N., Dawe, S., Shelton, D., Harnett, P., Warner, J., Armstrong, E., LeGros, K. and O’Callaghan, F. (2015), Systematic Review of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Interventions Across the Life Span. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39: 2283–2295. doi: 10.1111/acer.12903

Systematic Review of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Interventions Across the Life Span