Health risks greater for kids in poverty, research suggests

WASHINGTON — More kids than ever are battling chronic diseases — and new research shows children growing up in or near the poverty line are suffering the most.

Research presented at this weekend’s Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Baltimore underscores the socioeconomic link.

Researchers from several top pediatric centers around the country crunched data from years of national surveys on children’s health.

They looked at the incidence of asthma, autism and attention deficit hyperactive disorder, searching for demographic trends.

While all three chronic conditions have been on the rise in recent years across the board, these researchers found the increase in asthma and ADHD was far more pronounced among kids living in poverty.

Even more concerning to the study authors was the fact the poorest kids of all were roughly twice as likely to have two or more additional conditions, such as depression or epilepsy.

The researchers say policies and programs that help disadvantaged kids need to take these findings into account. They say the medical community needs to be aware of the greater health risks facing poor children.

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