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Demographic disparities found among children with frequent ear infections
Date:8/9/2010

ree or more ear infections over the previous 12 months. For those who answered yes, researchers pulled demographic data including age, sex, race/ethnicity, income level and insurance status to determine the influence of these variables on frequent ear infections.

The average age of children in the study was 8.5 years old, and 51 percent were boys. Of the parents surveyed, 6.6 percent reported having a child who suffered frequent ear infections.

The researchers found that among white children, 7.0 percent had frequent ear infections, compared with 6.2 percent of Hispanic children, 5.0 percent of African American children and 4.5 percent of children from other racial or ethnic groups.

They also found that children from households under the poverty level had a higher incidence 8.0 percent of frequent ear infections than children from above the poverty level, even after adjusting for race and ethnicity.

"The racial and ethnic disparity was somewhat surprising," Shapiro said. "We are not certain why these gaps exist, but possible explanations could include anatomic differences, cultural factors or disparate access to health care. It could also be that white children are overdiagnosed and non-white children are underdiagnosed."

The next stage of research is to better understand the impact of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities and inequalities related to access to health care within the population of children with frequent ear infections.


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Contact: Amy Albin
aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-8672
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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