Experts fear immaturity is being medicated with children - who are the youngest in their class - twice as likely to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) than older classmates.
The news is of great concern to Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi.
The Herald Sun reports, Australian researchers behind a new global study have expressed alarm that doctors and schools may be medicating immaturity and giving children harmful drugs they don’t need.
The effect is strongest among children aged six to 10.
The youngest children in class in this age cohort are twice as likely to be diagnosed, the risk drops to 40 per cent among 11-15 year olds who are youngest in class.
The study led by Curtin University’s Dr Martin Whitely looked at 17 studies involving 14 million children in 12 countries.
It found a clear relationship between a child’s age relative to their classmates and an ADHD diagnosis and use of ADHD medication.
Senator Bernardi has told Paul Murray Live on Sky News, in many cases, medication of children is serious and a more holistic approach may be sensible.
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