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Ambul Pediatr. 2006 Sep-Oct;6(5):293-6.

Children's visits to providers of complementary and alternative medicine in San Diego.

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Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California-San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive 0607, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.



Increased attention has been focused on the growing use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); however, few studies have included children in the general US population. The present study investigated children's visits to CAM providers and factors associated with these visits.


Analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2001 United Way Outcomes and Community Impact Program telephone survey, a representative sample of households in San Diego County, California. We selected households with children younger than 19 years of age (N = 1104). Parents reported on children's CAM visits in the past year.


Approximately 23% of parents reported that their child saw a CAM provider in the past 12 months. CAM care was sought for sick and routine care. Children of white parents had greater odds of having a CAM visit in the past year compared with children whose parents were Hispanic (adjusted odds ratio 1.71, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.11-2.63). Children whose parents were college graduates had a greater likelihood of seeing a CAM provider than children of parents with high school education (adjusted odds ratio = 1.82, 95% CI 1.19-2.79). Children who were insured were also more likely to have CAM visits than uninsured children (adjusted odds ratio = 2.32, 95% CI 1.04-5.21).


Visits to CAM providers were much more common among children in the general San Diego population compared with 1996 national estimates. Pediatric health care providers should remain aware that their patients may be using CAM so they can provide coordinated care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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