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Am J Public Health. 2012 May;102(5):859-66. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300548. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Explaining racial/ethnic disparities in children's dental health: a decomposition analysis.

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  • 1Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We measured racial/ethnic inequalities in US children's dental health and quantified the contribution of conceptually relevant factors.

METHODS:

Using data from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, we investigated racial/ethnic disparities in selected child dental health and preventive care outcomes. We employed a decomposition model to quantify demographic, socioeconomic, maternal health, health insurance, neighborhood, and geographic effects.

RESULTS:

Hispanic children had the poorest dental health and lowest preventive dental care utilization, followed by Black then White children. The model explanatory variables accounted for 58% to 77% of the disparities in dental health and 89% to 100% of the disparities in preventive dental care. Socioeconomic status accounted for 71% of the gap in preventive dental care between Black children and White children and 55% of that between Hispanic children and White children. Maternal health, age, and marital status; neighborhood safety and social capital; and state of residence were relevant factors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Reducing US children's racial/ethnic dental health disparities-which are mostly socioeconomically driven-requires policies that recognize the multilevel pathways underlying them and the need for household- and neighborhood-level interventions.

PMID:
22420801
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3402215
Free PMC Article
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