Minority children experience disparities in care

A national survey found significant disparities for minority children in medical and oral health and access to care.

In “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Medical and Dental Health, Access to Care, and Use of Services in U.S. Children,” the authors examined the results from the National Survey of Children’s Health conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between January 2003 and July 2004.

Interviews with 102,353 households revealed significant differences among different racial and ethnic groups in rates of insurance coverage, overall health status, overweight, asthma, hearing or vision problems, diabetes, behavior problems, skin allergies, headaches and oral health.

Certain health problems were more likely in specific racial or ethnic groups.

For example, asthma was more prevalent among African American, multiracial and Native American children. Compared with white children, children in all five minority groups (African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American and multiracial) were significantly less likely to have visited a doctor or been given a prescription medication in the past year.

The study authors suggest awareness of these disparities could help clinicians and policy makers meet the needs of diverse populations.

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