BALTIMORE — Children living in poverty experienced significantly higher rates of asthma and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder compared to wealthier children, according to recent study findings presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.
“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,” Christian D. Pulcini, MD, MEd, MPH, from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, said in a press release.
Christian D. Pulcini
To evaluate sociodemographic trends in prevalence and comorbidities for asthma, ADHD and autism – three common conditions which could have important policy implications for government programs, such as the Supplemental Security Income program – the researchers conducted secondary analyses of the National Survey of Children’s Health data in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2012.
The researchers used multivariable regression to determine sociodemographic predictors of comorbidities among children with asthma, ADHD and autism in 2011/12.
According to study results, children living in poverty experienced the largest increases in asthma (25.8% in the 0-99% Federal Poverty Level; 14.9% in the 100-199% level) and ADHD (43.2% in the 0-99% level; 52.4% in the 100-199% level) with a statistically significant increased vs. more affluent children (P < .001).
The researchers noted that children with asthma and ADHD with two or more comorbidities also significantly increased (27.28%, 32.44%, P < .01) among impoverished children vs. wealthier children. Additionally, researchers found that children in extreme poverty with asthma and ADHD were twice as likely to exhibit more than one comorbidity when compared to wealthier children.
“This study reinforces the importance for clinicians to carefully assess and monitor comorbid conditions among children with ADHD and asthma, especially those in poverty,” Pulcini told Infectious Diseases in Children. “Policies which support practitioners, promote medical homes and support children and families in poverty or near poverty should be considered to adequately address the complex medical needs of children in poverty. Further study is needed to ensure that these children are receiving the appropriate health services based on their primary diagnosis, co-morbid conditions and socioeconomic status.” – by Bob Stott
Pulcini CD, et al. Abstract 2869.525. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting; April 30-May 3, 2016; Baltimore.
Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.