Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pediatrics. 2007 Dec;120(6):e1393-401.

Preventive care for children in low-income families: how well do Medicaid and state children's health insurance programs do?

Author information

Urban Institute, Health Policy Center, 2100 M St, NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.



Child health problems that are caused or exacerbated by health behaviors remain a leading cause of medical spending for children. We examined receipt of clinician advice by low-income children, comparing children who had public insurance with those who had private insurance, as well as with children who were uninsured for part or all of the year.


We used children who were aged 3 to 17 and living in families with incomes of <250% of the federal poverty level in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data from 2001 to 2003 to estimate linear probability models on receipt of preventive advice. The main outcome measures were receipt of clinician's advice about healthy eating, physical activity, the harmful effects of smoking in the home, proper safety restraints in a car, and use of a bicycle helmet. We also examined 2 related barriers to receiving clinician advice: whether the child had any preventive care visits in the past year and whether the child had a usual source of care other than a hospital emergency department.


Publicly insured children were more likely than privately insured, full-year-uninsured children, and part-year-uninsured children to have had a preventive care visit in the past year, but regardless of health insurance group, many children went without preventive care. Even conditional on having had a preventive care visit, 48% did not receive clinician advice in any of the areas measured, and 41% of the overweight children were advised about neither healthy eating nor exercise in the past year.


Enrolling more uninsured children in Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Programs could improve the chances that families receive advice about health behaviors and injury prevention; however, nearly half of the children who were insured for the entire year did not receive important advice from their clinicians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center