Early Origins of Health Disparities

Burden of Infection, Health, and Socioeconomic Status in US Children

This article examined the relationship between socioeconomic status and rates of chronic infection in children. Infection or inflammation in children may predispose them to chronic disease and play a role in later-life health disparities.

Researchers used biomarker data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to relate information on children's common chronic infections with height-for-age and asthma to their socioeconomic status.

Key Findings:

  • Higher rates of infection were associated with lower family income, lower levels of parental education, and belonging to a racial/ethnic minority.
  • Burden of infection was associated with lower height-to-age ratios, suggesting childhood growth and development may be related to infectious environments.

The rate of chronic infection in children varies by socioeconomic conditions and may lead to health disparities early in life.

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