Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(4), 1547-1561; doi:10.3390/ijerph10041547
Article

Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Maternal Characteristics in a Sample of Schoolchildren from a Rural Province of Croatia

1 Children's Hospital Srebrnjak, Srebrnjak 100, Zagreb 10000, Croatia 2 Children's Hospital Zagreb, Medical School University of Zagreb, Klaićeva 16, Zagreb 10000, Croatia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 March 2013; in revised form: 1 April 2013 / Accepted: 9 April 2013 / Published: 16 April 2013
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Abstract: Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a congenital syndrome caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and is entirely preventable by abstinence from alcohol drinking during this time. Little is known about the prevalence of FAS and maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Western countries. We present the results of FAS/partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS) prevalence study and maternal characteristics in a sample of schoolchildren from a rural province of Croatia. This study involved seven elementary schools with 1,110 enrolled children attending 1st to 4th grade and their mothers. We used an active case ascertainment method with passive parental consent and Clarified IOM criteria. The investigation protocol involved maternal data collection and clinical examination of children. Out of 1,110 mothers, 917 (82.6%) answered the questionnaire. Alcohol exposure during pregnancy was admitted by 11.5%, regular drinking by 4.0% and binge drinking by 1.4% of questioned mothers. Clinical examination involved 824 (74.2%) schoolchildren and disclosed 14 (1.7%) with clinical signs of FAS and 41 (5.0%) of PFAS. The observed FAS prevalence, based on 74.2% participation rate, was 16.9, PFAS 49.7 and combined prevalence was 66.7/1,000 examined schoolchildren. This is the first FAS prevalence study based on active ascertainment among schoolchildren and pregnancy alcohol drinking analysis performed in a rural community of Croatia and Europe. High prevalence of FAS/PFAS and pregnancy alcohol consumption observed in this study revealed that FAS is serious health problem in rural regions as well as a need to develop future studies and preventive measures for pregnancy alcohol drinking and FASD.
Keywords: FAS; prevalence; schoolchildren; rural; Croatia

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MDPI and ACS Style

Petković, G.; Barišić, I. Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Maternal Characteristics in a Sample of Schoolchildren from a Rural Province of Croatia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 1547-1561.

AMA Style

Petković G, Barišić I. Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Maternal Characteristics in a Sample of Schoolchildren from a Rural Province of Croatia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(4):1547-1561.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Petković, Giorgie; Barišić, Ingeborg. 2013. "Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Maternal Characteristics in a Sample of Schoolchildren from a Rural Province of Croatia." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 4: 1547-1561.

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