At the high end, 21.5 percent of kids in Arkansas and Kentucky have one of the conditions. By contrast, California logs the lowest rate in the nation at 10.6 percent.

CDC offers new stats on disability prevalence 480x2300

New figures from the CDC indicate that more than 15 percent of American children have at least one diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. (iStock)

The findings published this month in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report rely on statistics collected as part of the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health on more than 35,000 kids ages 2 to 8.

Parents were asked if they had every been told by a doctor or health care provider that their child had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety problems, behavioral problems such as oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder, Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, learning disability, intellectual disability, developmental delay, or speech or other language problems.

Factors including poor parent mental health, difficulty living on the family’s income, child care issues and the lack of a medical home were all strongly associated with increased risk for developmental problems, the report found.

Officials with the CDC say the findings have important implications for public health.

“These data support the Institute of Medicine recommendation that resources directed toward improving health care and supporting families and communities are needed to prevent mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, and promote healthy development among all young children,” wrote Rebecca Bitsko of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and her colleagues.

“Such investments would require substantial collaboration across public health, pediatric and other agencies responsible for providing services to children, but could yield widespread benefits for early childhood and lifelong health.”

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