Primary language spoken at home and disparities in the health and healthcare of US adolescents

We examined disparities in medical and oral health status, access to care, and use of services in a nationally representative sample of adolescents from non-English primary language (NEPL) homes. Bivariate and multivariable analyses wereperformed on the 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health to identify disparities in 40 measures of health and healthcare for adolescents aged 10–17 years (n = 47 159). Among adolescents from non- English primary language homes, sub-analyses compared Latinos and Asian/Pacific Islanders with white adolescents.Comparedwith adolescents from Englishprimary-language (EPL) homes, adolescents from NEPL homes experienced many disparities, including being more likely to have suboptimal health (47% vs. 14%), suboptimal dental condition (65% vs. 31%), no health insurance (32% vs. 7%), nopersonal doctor or nurse (42% vs. 15%), problems obtaining specialty care (44% vs. 22%), never having seen a dentist (5% vs. 1%), and no preventive medical (44% vs. 26%) or dental (17% vs. 6%) visit in the past year. Compared with white  adolescents from EPL homes, Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander adolescents fromNEPL homes experienced disparities in medical and oral health status, having a personal doctor or nurse, and dental visits. Most disparities persisted in ultivariable analyses. Compared with adolescents from EPL homes, adolescents from NEPL homes experienced multiple disparitiesin health and healthcare. Among adolescents from NEPL homes, Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander adolescents  experienced specific disparities.

Author(s): May Lau, Hua Lin, Glenn Flores

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