"Enrollees in private health insurance can choose from a wide variety of plans," Roy says. "Those who cut their costs by purchasing less coverage are reducing their access to quality care, including basic services like preventive care, prescription drugs, and vision and dental care."
Roy says she can only speculate why infants from advantaged and disadvantaged families differ in their health outcomes. It's possible, however, that infants from families that are better off have access to better nutrition, a healthier lifestyle and possibly safer, cleaner neighborhoods than those from poorer backgrounds.
"Poor families and their infants may be subsisting on cheap food, for example, which tends to be fatty and less nutritious," Roy says, "and that translates to worse health."
Study relied on new U.S. government data on thousands of infants
Roy's statistical analysis drew on data from more than 7,500 infants born in 2001. The data were the most recent available from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, released by the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study follows children born in the United States from birth through the start of kindergarten. Children are from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Data were gathered from parents, teachers and providers of child care and early education.
Data collected cover children's health, care, education and cognitive, social, emotional and physical development over time. Included are standard infant health measures like length, infant weight, five-m
|Contact: Margaret Allen|
Southern Methodist University