A nation wide survey has revealed that minority children experience significant disparities in health care than the majority group.
Dr. Glenn Flores, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern analysed the results of 102,353 interviews completed between January 2003 and July 2004 by National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH).
The child's ethnicity was then divided into white, Latino, African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American or multiracial.
The findings revealed that in all five minority groups children were notably less likely than whites to have visited a physician or been given a medical prescription in the past year. Additionally, Latino and Native American children were more likely to be uninsured than African-American, multiracial, white and Asian/Pacific Islander children.
"Conservative estimates indicate that minorities will comprise half of U.S. children by 2040. In Texas, more than 62 percent of children currently are non-white," said Dr. Flores
"Although increasing attention is being paid to racial and ethnic disparities in health care, very little attention is directed toward children," he added.
The findings revealed that the disparities could be observed in conditions like asthma, hearing and vision problems, diabetes, behaviour problems, allergies and dental care.
Asthma was significantly more prevalent among African-American, Native Americans and multiracial children while Native American showed higher prevalence of hearing and vision problems and diabetes
The behaviour problems were more prevalent in African-American and multiracial children.
Digestive allergies were significantly more likely in multiracial children, while skin allergies were more frequent in African-American children; and Multiracial, Native American and African-American children also had higher probability of not receiving all needed dental care.
Dr. Flores suggest that awareness of these disparities may be useful for clinicians, health systems and policymakers to address the needs of diverse populations.
The analysis is published as an abstract in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics.