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Inequities exists in disease burden, health care and access for minority children
Date:3/28/2010

DALLAS March 29, 2010 Minority children in the U.S. face a pervasive gap in the quality and extent of health care received compared to Caucasians, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics written by a UT Southwestern Medical Center physician.

The country's 31.4 million minority children face higher overall death rates than Caucasians, and certain groups face greater violence and higher incidence of HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, asthma, ADHD and certain types of cancers, according to the report.

The report, appearing in the April issue of Pediatrics, was compiled on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Pediatric Research. It is the first comprehensive review of racial/ethnic disparities in pediatric care, using the findings of more than 50 years of studies with regard to racial/ethnic disparities in children's health and health care.

The report defines disparities as population-specific differences in the presence of disease, in health outcomes or in access to care.

Other common disparities for minority children included higher rates of obesity and lower rates of breastfeeding, immunizations, and proper nutrition. Compared with Caucasians, minority children also faced less insurance coverage, less access to adequate health care, less time with doctors, fewer screenings and longer times for diagnosis for some conditions.

"To see those disparities is very disconcerting," said Dr. Glenn Flores, author of the report and professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern. "We need to figure out why there are such stark differences when there really shouldn't be in a country that prides itself on equity and justice."

Dr. Flores said possible actions for addressing children's disparities include:

  • Clinics, hospitals and health systems should routinely collect data on race/ethnicity, the primary language spoken at home and English proficiency;
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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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