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Arch Dermatol. 2002 May;138(5):634-7.

In the United States, blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders are more likely than whites to seek medical care for atopic dermatitis.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Dermatology Research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.



There have been population-based studies conducted in England and the United States that suggest an increase in prevalence of atopic dermatitis among black and/or Asian children.


To assess whether health care utilization for atopic dermatitis differs among different ethnic groups in the United States.


Weighted data on representative office visits by whites, blacks, and Asian/Pacific Islanders were analyzed using a cross-sectional study, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), from 1990 through 1998 using statistical software.


The NAMCS is an ongoing data collection effort by the Division of Health Care Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey samples representative visits to US office-based physicians during a representative week of practice.


All outpatient visits were analyzed and compared with those for patients diagnosed as having atopic dermatitis (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, code 691.80).


Diagnosis of atopic dermatitis by race.


Of 570 million estimated visits for skin conditions, 7.9 million were for atopic dermatitis. The numbers of per capita visits for atopic dermatitis among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders were 2-fold and 6-fold higher, respectively, than among whites. The odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for atopic dermatitis visits by blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders relative to whites were 3.4 (2.5-4.7) and 6.7 (4.8-9.5), respectively.


Blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders are much more likely to visit physicians for atopic dermatitis than are whites and may benefit from education and early intervention efforts concerning the disease.

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