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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 787616, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/787616
Review Article

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Chronic Diseases of Youths and Access to Health Care in the United States

1Health Education and Public Health, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA
2Community Health, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA
3Public Health, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY 40475, USA
4Health Sciences, Otterbein University, Westerville, OH 43081, USA

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 8 August 2013

Academic Editor: Raul A. Mendoza-Sassi

Copyright © 2013 James H. Price et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Racial/ethnic minorities are 1.5 to 2.0 times more likely than whites to have most of the major chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are also more common in the poor than the nonpoor and this association is frequently mediated by race/ethnicity. Specifically, children are disproportionately affected by racial/ethnic health disparities. Between 1960 and 2005 the percentage of children with a chronic disease in the United States almost quadrupled with racial/ethnic minority youth having higher likelihood for these diseases. The most common major chronic diseases of youth in the United States are asthma, diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, dental disease, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mental illness, cancers, sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and a variety of genetic and other birth defects. This review will focus on the psychosocial rather than biological factors that play important roles in the etiology and subsequent solutions to these health disparities because they should be avoidable and they are inherently unjust. Finally, this review examines access to health services by focusing on health insurance and dental insurance coverage and access to school health services.