US Pharm. 2011;36(3):2.
The 2001–2007 National Health Interview Survey found that 48% of children aged up to 17 years who lived in nuclear families were less likely than those in nonnuclear families to have asthma, hay fever, learning disabilities (LDs), or attention-deficit/
Specific Health Conditions
Nine million children (12.7%) had asthma, 7.2 million (9.9%) had hay fever, 8.4 million (11.6%) had respiratory allergies, and 8.8 million (12%) had digestive or skin allergies. Family structure was unrelated to prevalence of respiratory allergy in Hispanic children, but non-Hispanic white children in unmarried biological families (9%) were less likely to have respiratory allergies than those in nuclear (12.2%) or single-parent families (15.5%).
Four million children (6%) had frequent migraines or headaches, and 4.2 million had more than two ear infections in a year. Children in nuclear families (4.5%) were less likely to have frequent migraines or headaches than those in single-parent families (8%).
Developmental delays affected 2.6 million children (3.6%), 1.3 million of whom (1.8%) received special education for emotional or behavioral problems. Children living in nuclear families (3%) were less likely than those in single-parent families (4.6%) to have mental retardation. In total, 6.9 million children aged 3 to 17 years had an LD or ADHD, and 8.1 million aged 5 to 17 years missed more than 5 days of school because of illness or injury.
Health Insurance Coverage
Seven million children had no health insurance coverage. Health insurance coverage was less likely among children in nuclear (8%) versus single-parent families (9.1%). Additionally, 3.7 million children (5%) lacked a usual place of health care. In a 12-month period, 19.4 million children aged 1 to 17 years did not have a medical checkup, and 5.2 million children (7.2%) made multiple visits to an ER. Because of concerns over costs, 2.8 million children failed to seek necessary medical care. About 9.4 million children (12.9%) required prescription drugs, but cost prevented 1.8 million children from obtaining the medication. Children living in unmarried biological families (9.2%) were least likely to have a problem requiring the regular use of a prescription drug.
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