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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(8), 896; doi:10.3390/ijerph14080896

The Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Its Impact on a Child’s Classroom Performance: A Case Study of a Rural South African School

1
School of Economics, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7700, South Africa
2
Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7700, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Icro Maremmani
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 9 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
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Abstract

Alcohol consumption is high among farm labourers in the Western and Northern Cape of South Africa. Excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy is common, resulting in a high prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) among children. FAS causes intellectual and behavioural problems, which create considerable obstacles to a child’s education. The aim of this study is to provide a prevalence estimate of FAS in a rural school and to examine the effects of FAS on learners’ educational outcomes. The study was conducted at a farm school near Clanwilliam in theWestern Cape of South Africa. The sample comprises 166 learners from Grades 1 to 4. Educational outcomes include class scores (Afrikaans home language and mathematics), reading ability, and classroom behaviour. A physician diagnosed FAS using a three-stage process. We find FAS prevalence of 127 per 1000 (12.7%). Children with FAS score significantly lower (at the 10% level) for home language and behaviour than children who do not have FAS. Large-scale interventions in rural areas of the Western and Northern Cape that specifically target females of child-bearing age, as well as children with FAS, are necessary View Full-Text
Keywords: fetal alcohol syndrome; alcohol; binge drinking; pregnancy; dop system fetal alcohol syndrome; alcohol; binge drinking; pregnancy; dop system
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lubbe, M.; van Walbeek, C.; Vellios, N. The Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Its Impact on a Child’s Classroom Performance: A Case Study of a Rural South African School. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 896.

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