More Children Living in Poverty Developing Chronic Health Conditions


Children living in extreme poverty with conditions such as asthma or ADHD more likely to have other chronic conditions.

A study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting found that chronic health conditions are increasing at disproportionate rates among children living in poverty.

Researchers examined data from the National Survey of Children’s Health for 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2012.

The focus was to look for trends surrounding asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by sociodemographic characteristics.

The results of the study showed an increase in asthma and ADHD among children who lived in poverty, compared with children living in wealthier areas.

Additionally, poverty stricken children suffering from these conditions were more likely to have 2 or more additional diseases.

Children living in extreme poverty who had both asthma and ADHD, were nearly twice as likely to have at least 1 other chronic condition.

The most common co-existing conditions include autism, anxiety or depression, behavioral or conduct issues, developmental delays, epilepsy disorders, learning disabilities, and speech and language problems.

Children with public health insurance had a significant increase in all the chronic diseases studied.

“Especially with the recent release of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines suggesting poverty screening as an essential component at every child health visit, we need to be aware that poor children already at greater risk for common childhood illnesses such as asthma, ADHD and autism often face even more medical conditions on top of these,” said lead study author Christian D. Pulcini, MD, Med, MPH.

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