Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: What does Public Awareness Tell Us about Prevention Programming?

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4229; doi:10.3390/ijerph16214229

Peter Choate, Dorothy Badry, Bruce MacLaurin, Kehinde Ariyo, Dorsa Sobhani

Abstract: The prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) does not appear to be diminishing over time. Indeed, recent data suggests that the disorder may be more prevalent than previously thought. A variety of public education programs developed over the last 20 years have promoted alcohol abstention during pregnancy, yet FASD remains a serious public health concern.

This paper reports on a secondary data analysis of public awareness in one Canadian province looking at possible creative pathways to consider for future prevention efforts. The data indicates that the focus on women of childbearing age continues to make sense. The data also suggests that targeting formal (health care providers for examples) and informal support (partner, spouse, family, and friends) might also be valuable. They are seen as sources of encouragement, so ensuring they understand the risks, as well as effective ways to encourage abstinence or harm reduction, may be beneficial for both the woman and the pregnancy.

Educating people who might support a woman in pregnancy may be as important as programs targeted towards women who may become or are pregnant. The data also suggests that there is already a significant level of awareness of FASD, thus highlighting the need to explore the effectiveness and value of current prevention approaches.

Click here for full research article.

Leave a Reply