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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

More Than 1 in 20 U.S. Children Have Dizziness, Balance Problems

More than 1 in 20 (nearly 3.3 million) children between the ages of 3 and 17 have a dizziness or balance problem, according to an analysis of the first large-scale, nationally representative survey of these problems in U.S. children. Prevalence increases with age, with 7.5 percent of children ages 15-17 and 6 percent of children ages 12-14 having any dizziness or balance problem, compared with 3.6 percent of children ages 6-8 and 4.1 percent of children ages 3-5. The research was led by investigators at NIDCD.

Researchers found that girls have a higher prevalence of dizziness and balance problems compared to boys, 5.7 percent and 5 percent, respectively. In addition, non-Hispanic white children have an increased prevalence of dizziness and balance problems (6.1 percent) compared with Hispanic (4.6 percent) and non-Hispanic black (4.3 percent) children. The findings were published online Jan. 27 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

“These findings suggest that dizziness and balance problems are fairly common among children, and parents and providers should be aware of the impact these problems can have on our children,” said Dr. James F. Battey, Jr., director of NIDCD and a pediatrician. “Parents who notice dizziness and balance problems in their children should consult a health care provider to rule out a serious underlying condition.”

Previous estimates of dizziness and balance problems in children have ranged from 5 to 18 percent and have been based on limited, foreign, population-based studies.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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