|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News|Overweight in Childhood May Up Lifetime Risk of DepressionOverweight Boys Face Higher Colon Cancer Risk as AdultsHeavy Kids Face Triple the Odds for Depression in AdulthoodHealth Tip: Limit a Young Child's Media TimeMany Parents Underestimate Drowning RisksChildren Express Positive Views of Digital Tracking by StrangersToo Many Parents Say No to Helmets for Kids on WheelsHear This! Keep Cotton Swabs Out of Kids' EarsHealth Tip: Be a Safe Driver for Your Kids'Dr. Google' May Undermine Parents' Trust in Their PediatricianPAS: Hospitalizations Up for Suicidal Thoughts, Actions in KidsGuns Send About 16 U.S. Kids to the Hospital Every DayWhen Grandparents Raise Grandkids, Are They Up to Date on Child Safety?More Starring Roles for Booze in Kids' Movies, Study FindsThe Family That Eats Together, BenefitsAre Smartphones Helping or Harming Kids' Mental Health?More Active Kids Could Save U.S. Billions in Health Costs: StudyTrump Administration Rolls Back Obama-Era School Lunch RulesAre Bullies Getting Run Out of U.S. Schools?Health Tip: Turn Off Those ScreensKids' Sun Safety Means 'Slip, Slap, Slop'Pediatricians Missing Elevated Blood Lead Levels in U.S.AAP Stresses Medical Home Best for Acute Health ConcernsAre Kids' Vaccines a Victim of Their Own Success?Checklist for Family-Centered Rounds Deemed BeneficialChildren With Suspected Child Abuse Present to Hospital LateCancer Risk Rises After Childhood Organ Transplant: StudyModel Predicts Which Pediatric ER Patients Likely to Be AdmittedObesity Quadruples Kids' Type 2 Diabetes Risk: StudyAre You Raising an 'Emotional Eater'?More Risks on School Playgrounds Linked to Happier ChildrenKids Face Their Own Death Risks When a Sibling DiesIn America's Poorest Communities, a Greater Risk of Child Abuse DeathsFDA Warns Against Children Taking Codeine, TramadolNext Seven Great Achievements in Pediatric Research PredictedMany Students Reluctant to Use Asthma Inhalers at SchoolDon't Give Kids Medicines With Codeine, Tramadol: FDAMany Kids Still Being Injured on ATVsHypnosis Doesn't Improve Post-Op Anxiety, Pain in ChildrenHealth Tip: Minimizing Violence During Screen TimeHealth Tip: Concerned About Your Child's Weight?What's the Best Seasonal Allergy Med for Your Kid?Web-Based Platform Better for Delivering Pre-Op InformationKids Can Pick Up Nicotine on Their HandsHealth Tip: Checking Your Child's MolesCould a Clinical Trial Help Your Child?Direct-Acting Antivirals Approved for Children 12+ With HCVWhen Families Lack Insurance, Kids' Dental Woes Rise10 Minutes of Sweat a Day Helps Kids' HeartsOutdoor Play May Foster Little EnvironmentalistsQuestions and AnswersLinks
Low-Income Kids More Likely to Have ADHD, Asthma
by By Dennis Thompson
Updated: Feb 14th 2017
TUESDAY, Feb. 14, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Children in families struggling to make ends meet are developing asthma and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at faster rates than kids from families with greater means, a new study finds.
On the other hand, kids from wealthier families are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder more often than children in poorer homes. But that likely indicates that those parents have better access to the health care services that can uncover an autism diagnosis, the study authors said.
The findings suggest that family income and access to health insurance play a large role in a child's physical and mental health, said lead researcher Dr. Christian Pulcini. He's a pediatrics resident with the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
"Children in poverty are more at risk for adverse health outcomes, and we need to keep that in mind when we make policy and programs that will benefit children, particularly if they are poor," Pulcini said.
For their study, Pulcini and his colleagues analyzed data from the U.S. National Survey of Children's Health, a federal survey conducted three times between 2003 and 2012.
The investigators specifically reviewed rates of asthma, ADHD and autism for two reasons, Pulcini explained. Other studies had found all three conditions on the rise in the United States. And the disorders provided a good mix of physical (asthma) and mental (ADHD and autism) health conditions that children face.
The study found that parent-reported rates of all three conditions are increasing. Asthma and ADHD rates rose 18 percent and 44 percent, respectively, between 2003 and 2012, while autism rates increased a whopping 400 percent.
But when the researchers factored poverty into their analysis, the findings showed that family income level had a distinct effect on childhood illness:
- Asthma rates increased nearly 26 percent among children in families at less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), as opposed to about 15 percent in families between 100 percent and 199 percent of the FPL, and about 13.5 percent in families earning 200 percent or more of the poverty level.
- ADHD rates were much lower for families at or above 400 percent of the federal poverty level (33 percent) than families earning less money (43 percent to 52 percent, depending on income).
- Autism spectrum disorder was more likely to be diagnosed in kids from families above the federal poverty level (28 percent to just over 43 percent, depending on income) than those who fall below the poverty level (13 percent).
The 2017 federal poverty level is an annual income of $20,420 for a family of three and $24,600 for a family of four, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Michael Grosso is chairman of the department of pediatrics at Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital, in Huntington, N.Y. He said that asthma and ADHD rates among poorer families could be linked with the physical and mental strains of deprivation -- a phenomenon known as "toxic stress."
Pulcini explained that children in financially struggling families are more likely to be exposed to poorer indoor and outdoor air quality, and are less likely to eat well -- two conditions that have been tied to asthma risk.
Grosso added, "We now understand that infants and children who don't have the benefit of good nutrition, a stable home environment, regular routines and protection from violence are at risk for lasting consequences including behavioral health and other medical conditions."
Conversely, Pulcini said, the fact that better-off children are more likely to be diagnosed with autism could be tied to their families' improved access to health resources.
Families with more financial means "have better access to resources to identify autism. Parents have more resources to get children screened and get them treated," Pulcini said. On the other hand, children in poorer families have to undergo a more circuitous route before their autism is recognized, he said.
"Among children who are eventually diagnosed with autism, if they are poor, they are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD first and then autism," Pulcini noted.
Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said the study results "emphasize how important it is to consider social risk factors for disease."
"At a time when consideration is being given by some to limit health care coverage and other social services for the poor, the findings from this study emphasize how important it is for all children to have health insurance and other basic essentials," he said.
The study findings were published online Feb. 13 in the journal Pediatrics.
For more about poverty and child health, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This article: Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.