Foetal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of intellectual disability in the United States. The more closely the evidence is considered, the more significant the problem becomes.
Reviews of medical records in some American communities suggest that less than 1 out of every 1,000 children meets the diagnostic criteria for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). But in-person assessments (which are more reliable) put the number much higher, at between 6 and 9 children per 1,000.
FAS is the most extreme end of the FASD spectrum. There are far more people who fit into the FASD category. Results of one study suggest that 2.4 – 4.8% of children in a midwestern community were affected by FASDs.
Another larger-scale analysis paints a similar picture, putting the rate of FASD among schoolchildren in the U.S. and some western European countries at 2 – 5%.