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HLT 111 - Health and the Young Child - Textbook

Chapter 8: Health Disparities in Children

Chapter Objectives

      At the conclusion of this chapter students will be able to

  1. Define and describe the concept of health disparities in children
  2. Outline the social determinants of health disparities in Children
  3. Describe the impact of disparities on the child’s emotional and intellectual health
  4. Describe protective measures for children in families undergoing stress
  5. Outline steps taken to promote children’s social and emotional health


Health equity is the availability of opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Differences in health outcomes or health care and their causes among groups of people are called health disparities.

Health disparities are differences in health outcomes and their causes among groups of people. Reducing health disparities is a major goal of public health. Achieving health equity, eliminating disparities, and improving the health of all U.S. population groups is one of the goals of public health.  Social factors that influence health care and health outcomes are called social determinants. These are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. According to the World Health Organization these circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within populations and between countries are called health inequities. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities.

Chapter Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter Review

  1. What are the roots of health disparities in children?
  2. What can be done to address health disparities in children?
  3. Describe the concept of cultural competency.
  4. Explain why cultural  competency training may be required for teachers.
  5. Compare and contrast the concepts of health disparities, health inequity, and inequalities.

Group Discussion

Discuss how a number of sociodemographic and environmental factors outlined below impact health and educational outcome in the young child

  1. Smoking during pregnancy
  2. Lead-contaminated drinking water
  3. Health insurance coverage
  4. Access to health care services
  5. Overweight and obesity
  6. Emotional and behavioral problems