Neil Bhattacharyya is a consultant with Intersect ENT and Entellus. The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.
Demographic disparities among children with frequent ear infections in the United States†
Version of Record online: 18 JUN 2010
Copyright © 2010 The American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc.
Volume 120, Issue 8, pages 1667–1670, August 2010
How to Cite
Vakharia, K. T., Shapiro, N. L. and Bhattacharyya, N. (2010), Demographic disparities among children with frequent ear infections in the United States. The Laryngoscope, 120: 1667–1670. doi: 10.1002/lary.20961
- Issue online: 22 JUL 2010
- Version of Record online: 18 JUN 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 MAR 2010
- Otitis media;
- access to care;
- Level of Evidence: 2c
To evaluate current racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in the prevalence of frequent ear infections (FEI) among children in the United States.
The National Health Interview Survey (years 1997 to 2006) was utilized to evaluate children who were reported by their parent/guardian to have “3 or more ear infections during the past 12 months.” Demographic variables evaluated included age, sex, race/ethnicity, income level, and insurance status. Multivariate analyses determined the influence of demographic variables on the prevalence of FEI in children.
Among an annualized population of 72.6 million children (average age, 8.55 ± 0.19 years), 4.65 ± 0.07 million children (6.6 ± 0.1%) reported FEI. FEI was more commonly reported in white (7.0 ± 0.1%) and Hispanic (6.2 ± 0.2%) than in black (5.0 ± 0.2%) and other race/ethnic groups (4.5 ± 0.3%, P < .001). A larger portion of children in households below the poverty level reported FEI (8.0 ± 0.3%, P < .001). Of children with no health insurance 5.4 ± 0.3% had FEI. On multivariate analysis, black, Hispanic and other race/ethnic group had decreased odds ratio for FEI relative to white children (odds ratios: 0.63, 0.76, and 0.60, respectively, all P < .001). Income below poverty level also predicted FEI (odds ratio, 1.322, P < .001), whereas lack of insurance coverage did not (P = .181).
Despite increasing awareness, there are still notable racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities among children with FEI. Further efforts to eliminate these disparities and improve the care of children with FEI are needed. Laryngoscope, 2010