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Eczema-Related School Absences Higher Among Blacks, Hispanics

3.3 percent of children missed at least six days of school in six months due to their skin condition

WEDNESDAY, May 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to atopic dermatitis (AD), according to a research letter published online May 22 in JAMA Dermatology.

Joy Wan, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues used baseline data from 8,015 children (aged 2 to 17 years; 53.3 percent girls) enrolled in the U.S. Pediatric Eczema Elective Registry (PEER) between Nov. 25, 2004, and July 18, 2017. A questionnaire at enrollment assessed demographic characteristics, medical conditions, AD history and treatment, and number of school days missed due to AD (zero, one to five, six to 10, or >10) in the previous six-month period.

The researchers found that among the 7,272 children enrolled in school or day care, 3.3 percent missed at least six days in the previous six months. There were higher adjusted odds of having at least six school absences among non-Hispanic black (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.49) and Hispanic (aOR, 3.41) children versus non-Hispanic white children. Six or more absences were also significantly associated with younger age (aOR, 0.95), household income between $50,000 and $99,999 (aOR, 0.55), uncontrolled AD (aOR, 6.36), longer duration of AD (aOR, 1.07), and comorbid asthma (aOR, 1.78) or allergic rhinitis (aOR, 2.03).

“Understanding the factors that drive racial and ethnic differences in AD-related absences can ensure that efforts to reduce absenteeism are directed toward the most vulnerable children,” the authors write.

The PEER registry was funded by Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

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