Preventive Care Lacking for US Kids

Childhood preventive care services like vaccination and dental care underused, according to CDC reports

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Preventing illness in children is often much easier than treating a disease. But new reports warned that many US kids may not be getting full preventive care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports looked at preventive services like vaccinations, dental care and hearing screenings from 1999 to 2011.

The CDC found that many children were not getting these services.

"Discuss preventive care for your child with a pediatrician."

The reports focused on 11 preventive services, such as breastfeeding counseling, screening for developmental delays, screening for lead poisoning during middle childhood, and tobacco use screening and help quitting during adolescence.

The CDC reported that, in 2007, 79 percent of parents of children between the ages of 10 and 47 months said health care providers did not ask them to complete a screening for developmental delays.

In 2009, 56 percent of parents of children and adolescents reported that their kids had not gone to the dentist during the past year.

The reports also found that, in 2011, 47 percent of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 had not received a first dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. About 65 percent had not received the complete three-dose series.

The report reviewed preventive care before 2012, prior to the Affordable Care Act taking effect. This act could help make these services more accessible to many, which may change rates of use in the coming years, the CDC noted.

"Improved delivery and use of clinical preventive services during the prenatal period, infancy, and throughout childhood and adolescence can reduce illnesses, disorders, and disability among children and adolescents and can yield significant long-term benefits to help enable children to reach their full potential as healthy, productive adults," wrote CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, in a foreword to the reports.

The reports were released Sept. 12 with the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
September 11, 2014
Last Updated:
September 11, 2014