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Am J Public Health. 1988 Aug;78(8):927-33.

Morbidity and use of ambulatory care services among poor and nonpoor children.

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Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Using data from the Child Health Supplement to the 1981 National Health Interview Survey, illness and use of physician services are compared for children under 18 years old in three family income groups. The results indicate that although annual prevalence of many health problems does not differ greatly by income level, disability as measured by bed days is greater among low income children. A substantial minority of children from all socioeconomic levels are afflicted by multiple health problems. The impact of multiple conditions, as measured by days spent ill in bed, appears much greater for children from low income families. Use of physician services was found to be similar for children of all socioeconomic levels when no significant health problems were present, but low income children with health problems used fewer physician visits on an adjusted basis than their higher income counterparts.

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