Disparities in Pediatric Preventive Care in the United States, 1993-2002

Racial and ethnic disparities in health care have been well documented. Less is known about the extent of these disparities in health care among children. This cross-sectional study analyzes physician reported data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey about preventive counseling and screening services during well-child visits. The analysis includes data from well-child visits recorded between 1993 and 2002 for children ages birth to 18 years of age. Four mutually exclusive racial and ethnic categories were used to measure disparities in care: non-Latino White, non-Latino Black, Latino and other non-Latino.

Key Findings:

  • Latino children had the highest rates of well-child visits, while African-American children had the lowest.
  • African-American and Latino children received preventive counseling services at 61 percent of visits as compared with White children at 72 percent of visits.
  • Latino children had a shorter average well-child visit appointment time (15.9 minutes) than White or African-American children (17.3 and 17.6 minutes, respectively).
  • In multivariate analysis, African-American children underwent fewer screening services as compared with White children.