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Pediatrics. 1991 Sep;88(3):519-26.

Childhood morbidity: comparisons, clusters, and trends.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland.


Standard mortality and morbidity data are important but incomplete descriptors of child health. Simple prevalences of individual conditions fail to capture fully the nature of ill health in childhood. More enlightening are comparative prevalences: cross-nationally, in different population subgroups, or as trends over time. A longitudinal perspective that provides information on high-risk states and that the nature of their impact on various aspects of health over time adds another dimension to an understanding of child health needs. A better understanding of the meaning of "health problems" in children and documentation of their distribution in the population will help to tailor better the organization and delivery of preventive, curative, and restorative child health services to child health needs.

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