Childhood Disability Due to Mental Health, Neurodevelopment Up
(HealthDay News) — The prevalence of childhood disability increased from 2001–2011, according to a study published online August 18 in Pediatrics.
Amy J. Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues examined recent trends in childhood disability in relation to health conditions and sociodemographic factors. A secondary data analysis was conducted of the National Health Interview Survey datasets for 2001–2002, 2004–2005, 2007–2008, and 2010–2011 for 198,888 individuals.
The researchers found that the prevalence of childhood disability increased steadily, with a 15.6% increase from 2001–2002 to 2010–2011. In 2010–2011, nearly six million children were considered disabled. The highest rates of disability were seen among children living in poverty, with 102.6 cases per 1,000 population in 2010–2011. During the study period, the largest increase in disability rates was seen among children living in households with incomes ≥400% above the federal poverty level (28.4% increase). There was an 11.8% decrease in the percentage of disability cases related to any physical health condition during the study period, and a 20.9% increase in cases related to any neurodevelopment or mental health condition.
"Documenting changes in the prevalence of childhood disability is an important step in developing better prevention and treatment strategies, refining how we study disability, and determining how to create and deliver services to best meet the needs of children," the authors write.