Nine Million U.S. Children Diagnosed with Asthma,
New Report Finds
Nine million U.S. children under age 18 have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives, and more than 4 million have had an asthma attack in the past 12 months, according to a new report on children’s health released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report, based on 2002 data from CDC’s National Health Interview Survey, shows that 12 percent of children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with asthma. Boys (14 percent) were more likely than girls (10 percent) to have been diagnosed with asthma. Children in poor families (16 percent) were more likely to have been diagnosed with asthma than children in families that were not poor (11 percent).
Non-Hispanic black children were more than twice as likely as Hispanic children to have had an asthma attack in the past 12 months (9 percent vs. 4 percent).
The report examined a number of health topics and found that 12 percent or 9 million U.S. children also suffered from respiratory allergies in 2002. Ten percent of children suffered from hay fever and 11 percent suffered from other allergies.
Respiratory allergies were more prevalent among children living in the South (15 percent) than in the Midwest (12 percent), Northeast (11 percent) or West (10 percent). Non-Hispanic white children (14 percent) and non-Hispanic black children (12 percent) were more likely than Hispanic children (9 percent) to have had respiratory allergies.
The study also sheds light on the number of children with identified learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD). Almost 5 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 had been identified with a learning disability, and almost 4 million had been identified with ADHD. Boys were more than twice as likely as girls (10 percent vs. 4 percent) to have been identified with ADHD.
The report also looked at prescription medication use and found that in 2002 there were nearly 10 million U.S. children who had to take regular prescription medication for at least three months. Youths between the ages 12 and 17 were most likely to have been on regular medication for at least three months.
Fifteen percent of boys were on regular medication compared with 12 percent of girls, and non-Hispanic white children and non-Hispanic black children were more likely to have been on regular medication than Hispanic children.
The study also found that one-quarter of U.S. children between 5 and 17 years of age missed no school over the past 12 months due to illness or injury. Over one-third of non-Hispanic black children and Hispanic children missed no school due to illness or injury compared with one-fifth of non-Hispanic white children.
Six percent of children missed 11 or more days of school over the past year due to illness or injury.
CDC also reports that approximately 3.9 million U.S. children did not have a usual place of health care. A higher percent of Hispanic children (12 percent) did not have a usual place of health care, compared with five percent of non-Hispanic black children and three percent of non-Hispanic white children.
Three out of four children had a contact with a doctor or other health professional at some time during the past six months, while 15 percent of uninsured children had not had a contact with a doctor or other health professional in more than two years.
More than 4 million children between the ages of 2 and 17 had unmet dental needs because their families could not afford dental health care.
Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2002 was prepared by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and can be found at www.cdc.gov/nchs.
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