US Pharm. 2012;37(3):6.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 82% of children aged ≤17 years are in excellent/very good health. However, 14% of children have asthma, 8% have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, 7% have unmet dental needs because their family cannot afford dental care, 8% have no health insurance coverage, and 5% have no usual place of health care. In 2010, 12.6% of children (9.4 million) suffered from skin allergies, 11.6% (8.6 million) from respiratory allergies, 9.5% (7.1 million) from hay fever, and 4.6% (3.4 million) from food allergies. Compared with children in excellent/very good health, children in fair/poor health were about twice as likely to have respiratory, food, or skin allergies (20%, 10%, and 22%, respectively, vs. 11%, 4%, and 12% for excellent/very good health).

Ethnicity: White children were more likely than black children to have hay fever (11.3% vs. 6.3%). Black children were more likely to have skin allergies than white and Asian children (17%, 12.6%, and 10%, respectively). Hispanic children were less likely than non-Hispanic children (6.8% vs. 10.3%) to have hay fever, respiratory allergies (8.3% vs. 12.5%), food allergies (2.9% vs. 5.1%), and skin allergies (9.8% vs. 13.4%). Compared with Asian children, white and black children were more likely to be on regular medication for ≥3 months (14%, 15%, and 6%, respectively), and non-Hispanic children were more likely than Hispanic children to be on regular medication (15% vs. 9%).

Age and Gender: In 2010, 11.7 million children aged 5 to 11 years (41%) and 10 million children aged 12 to 17 years (40.7%) suffered from hay fever, respiratory allergies, food allergies, or skin allergies. Of 38.2 million boys, 39.8% (15.2 million) suffered from these conditions, as did 36.5% (13.3 million) of 36.5 million girls (9% more boys than girls). More youths aged 12 to 17 years (18%) were on regular medication, compared with children aged 5 to 11 years (14%) and those aged ≤4 years (7%).

Parental Characteristics: Hay fever, respiratory allergies, food allergies, and skin allergies were 45% more prevalent in children from two-parent families (19.7 million) than in those from single-parent families (8.8 million). In 2010, a greater proportion of children living in a family with an annual income above or below $35,000 (41.6% vs. 33.4%) suffered disproportionately from hay fever (11.2% vs. 6.9%), respiratory allergies (12.4% vs. 10.2%), or food allergies (5.2% vs. 3.5%); skin allergies, however, affected an equal number of children (12.8%) across both income groups.

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