Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist in Pediatric Health Care

American Academy of Pediatrics says disparities are extensive, pervasive and persistent

MONDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- There are pervasive, persistent and extensive racial/ethnic disparities that occur in every domain of pediatric health and health care, according to a technical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics published online March 29 in Pediatrics.

Glenn Flores, M.D., of the Children's Medical Center of Dallas, and colleagues on the AAP's Committee on Pediatric Research conducted a systematic review of 111 articles on racial/ethnic disparities in the health and health care of American children.

The researchers found that disparities exist across the spectrum of health and health care, including mortality rates, access to and use of services, adolescent health, chronic diseases, and special needs care. Children in all four major racial/ethnic minority groups showed mortality-rate disparities, including higher risks than Caucasian children for all-cause mortality and death from drowning, from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and after surgery to repair congenital heart defects. Furthermore, the authors noted an earlier median age at death for minority children with Down syndrome and congenital heart defects.

"Methodologic flaws were identified in how such disparities are sometimes documented and analyzed," Flores and colleagues conclude. "Without recognition of child health disparities as pervasive problems, sound methodologies to assess the magnitude of disparities, and rigorous evaluation of disparities interventions, the pediatric community will not be able to realize the vision of the AAP to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being of all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults."

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