The effects of racism on children’s health were elucidated at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2017 meeting. Researchers illustrated the link between racism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, depression, anxiety, and general health. This study involved looking at data from 95,677 participants in the National Survey on Children’s Health for 2011-2012. This survey asked children if they had ever experienced unfair judgment or treatment because of their race or ethnicity. The researchers took into consideration the family structure, primary language, and socioeconomic status before discovering the link between racism exposure and health. They found a 5.4 percent decrease in health compared to those who have been discriminated against. They also found that racism exposure seemed to increase the odds of ADHD by 3.2 percent. Ashaunta Anderson, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Riverside found that the largest reduction in general health was particularly in Hispanic participants. These participants were often times low-income as well.
White children from high income families who had experienced racism typically had a larger decrease in general health, while black children who experience racism often times had increased ADHD rates. Dr. Anderson suggests that efforts of support for children who have experienced discrimination is absolutely necessary, and that coping strategies must be provided. Positive parenting practices training and peer relationships are her top suggestions for overcoming this issue.
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