Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. HC 2.8 Activity Limitations

01/01/2000

Activity limitations refer to long-term reductions in activities resulting from a chronic disease or impairment.37 Two types of activity limitations are examined here: limitations in major activities and limitations in any activity. A person is classified as having an activity limitation if he or she reports (1) an inability to perform the major activity for a person in his or her age group, (2) being able to perform the major activity but being limited in the kind or amount of this activity, or (3) not being limited in the major activity but being limited in the kind or amount of other activities. For children under age 5, the major activity consists of ordinary play. For children ages 5 to 17, the major activity is attending school. Children are classified as being limited in a major activity if they are unable to engage in the major activity or are limited in the kind or amount of this activity (classifications (1) and (2) above).

In 1996, 6.1 percent of all children under age 18 had a chronic condition that limited their activity (see Table HC 2.8.A), while 4.4 percent were limited in a major activity due to a chronic condition (see Table HC 2.8.B).

Differences by Age. Children ages 5 through 17 are more likely to experience an activity limitation due to a chronic condition than are younger children. In 1997, 3.4 percent of children under age 5 had an activity limitation due to a chronic condition, compared with 6.4 percent of older children. These differences by age can be seen across family income, gender, race, and Hispanic origin categories (see Table HC 2.8.A).

Differences by Gender. Males have consistently accounted for a greater percentage of children under 18 with an activity limitation due to a chronic condition. In 1997, 8.3 percent of males, compared with 4.7 percent of females, had activity limitations that were caused by a chronic condition (see Table HC 2.8.A). Looking only at limitations in major activities in 1996, 5.5 percent of males under age 18 had such limitations, compared with 3.2 percent of females (see Figure HC 2.8.B).

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin.38 In 1996, 8.4 percent of black children under age 18 had any activity limitation, compared with 5.7 percent of white children and 6.3 percent of Hispanic children (see Table HC 2.9.A). Black children also suffered from restrictions in their major activities more frequently than white children (see Figure HC 2.8.B).

Differences by Income. Children under age 18 who were below the poverty line were much more likely to have an activity limitation than nonpoor children in 1997: 8.8 versus 6.4 percent (see Figure HC 2.8 A). Even for children under age 5, who in general have fewer limitations than older children, the disparity between the poor and nonpoor incidence of activity limitation is striking: 3.2 percent of nonpoor children and 4.5 percent of poor children were limited in some activity.

Table HC 2.8.A Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with any activity limitationa due to a chronic condition,b by family income, age, gender, poverty status, and race and Hispanic origin:c Selected years 1984-1997

  1984 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
Under 18 total 5.0 4.9 5.8 6.1 6.6 6.7 6.0 6.1 6.5
Gender
Male 5.9 5.6 6.8 7.1 7.8 7.9 7.4 7.4 8.3
Female 4.0 4.2 4.7 5.0 5.3 5.6 4.6 4.7 4.7
Race and Hispanic originc
White, non-Hispanic 4.9 5.0 5.8 6.0 6.7 6.6 6.0 5.7 7.0
Black, non-Hispanic 5.6 5.5 6.7 7.5 7.7 8.9 7.3 8.4 7.3
Hispanic 4.7 4.1 5.5 5.3 5.6 5.7 5.8 6.3 4.8
Poverty status
Below poverty 7.1 6.7 8.8 9.2 9.5 9.7 9.2 9.7 8.8
At or above poverty 4.4 4.6 5.1 5.3 5.9 6.0 5.4 5.3 6.4
Under 5 total 2.5 2.2 2.4 2.8 2.8 3.1 2.7 2.6 3.4
Gender
Male 2.7 2.6 2.7 3.3 3.1 3.4 3.3 3.3 4.2
Female 2.3 1.7 2.1 2.2 2.5 2.7 2.0 1.7 2.7
Race and Hispanic originc
White, non-Hispanic 2.3 2.1 2.4 2.5 2.4 2.7 2.7 1.8 3.6
Black, non-Hispanic 3.3 2.9 3.2 4.2 4.7 5.0 3.5 4.8 4.5
Hispanic 2.5 2.0 1.8 2.5 2.7 3.1 2.5 3.5 2.4
Poverty status
Below poverty 4.0 3.0 4.3 4.5 4.3 5.2 3.9 4.9 4.5
At or above poverty 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.4 1.7 3.2
Ages 5-17 total 6.1 6.1 7.2 7.5 8.1 8.2 7.4 7.5 6.4
Gender
Male 7.3 6.9 8.5 8.7 9.8 9.7 9.0 9.0 9.9
Female 4.8 5.2 5.9 6.2 6.4 6.7 5.6 5.9 5.5
Race and Hispanic originc
White, non-Hispanic 6.0 6.2 7.1 7.4 8.4 8.1 7.2 7.1 8.2
Black, non-Hispanic 6.7 6.7 8.2 9.0 9.0 10.6 8.9 9.8 8.3
Hispanic 5.8 5.1 7.2 6.7 7.1 7.0 7.5 7.7 5.9
Poverty status
Below poverty 8.7 8.5 11.0 11.7 12.2 11.9 11.8 12.1 10.7
At or above poverty 5.5 5.6 6.4 6.6 7.2 7.4 6.5 6.6 7.5

a Persons are classified in terms of the major activity usually associated with their particular age group. The major activities for children are ordinary play for children under 5 years of age and attending school for those 5-17 years of age. A person is classified as having an activity limitation if he or she is unable to perform the major activity, is able to perform the major activity but is limited in the kind or amount of this activity, or is not limited in the major activity but is limited in the kind or amount of other activities.

b A condition is considered chronic if the respondent indicates it was first noticed more than 3 months before the reference date of the interview, or it is a type of condition that ordinarily has a duration of more than 3 months.

c Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Sources: Data from the National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Health Statistics (provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as published in America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 1998, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Table HEALTH2, available online at http://childstats.gov/ac1998/xhealth2.htm); Benson, & Marono, 1995. Previous issues of this report [Series 10, 181, 184, 189, and 193)].


Table HC 2.8.B Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with any activity limitation in a major activitya due to a chronic condition,b by gender and race: Selected years, 1983-1996

  1983 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Total 3.5 3.7 3.6 4.2 4.4 4.6 4.9 4.3 4.4
Gender
Male 4.2 4.4 4.2 5.0 5.2 5.6 6.0 5.5 5.5
Female 2.8 2.9 3.0 3.3 3.7 3.5 3.8 3.1 3.2
Race
White 3.4 3.5 3.5 4.1 4.3 4.5 4.7 4.2 4.1
Black 4.5 4.6 4.2 5.2 6.0 5.7 6.7 5.5 6.2

a Persons are classified in terms of the major activity usually associated with their particular age group. The major activities for children are ordinary play for children under 5 years of age and attending school for those 5-17 years of age. A person is classified as having an activity limitation in a major activity if he or she is unable to perform the major activity or is able to perform the major activity but is limited in the kind or amount of this activity.

b A condition is considered chronic if the respondent indicates it was first noticed more than 3 months before the reference date of the interview, or it is a type of condition that ordinarily has a duration of more than 3 months.

Sources: Unpublished data from the National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Health Statistics; Benson, & Marono, 1996, Table 67; Previous issues of this report. [Series 10, 154, 163, 181, 184, 189, 190, and 193 (Table 67 in each)].


Figure HC 2.8.A Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with any activity limitationa due to a chronic condition,b by poverty status: 1984-1997

Figure HC 2.8.A Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with any activity limitationa due to a chronic condition,b by poverty status: 1984-1997

a Persons are classified in terms of the major activity usually associated with their particular age group. The major activities for children are ordinary play for children under 5 years of age and attending school for those 5-17 years of age. A person is classified as having an activity limitation if he or she is unable to perform the major activity, is able to perform the major activity but is limited in the kind or amount of this activity, or is not limited in the major activity but is limited in the kind or amount of other activities.

b A condition is considered chronic if the respondent indicates it was first noticed more than 3 months before the reference date of the interview, or it is a type of condition that ordinarily has a duration of more than 3 months.

Sources: Data from the National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Health Statistics (provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as published in America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 1998, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Table HEALTH2, available online at http://childstats.gov/ac1998/xhealth2.htm); Benson, & Marono, 1995. Previous issues of this report [Series 10, 181, 184, 189, and 193)].


Figure HC 2.8.B Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with an activity limitation in a major activitya due to a chronic condition,b by gender and by race: 1996

Figure HC 2.8.B Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with an activity limitation in a major activitya due to a chronic condition,b by gender and by race: 1996

a Persons are classified in terms of the major activity usually associated with their particular age group. The major activities for children are ordinary play for children under 5 years of age and attending school for those 5-17 years of age. A person is classified as having an activity limitation in a major activity if he or she is unable to perform the major activity or is able to perform the major activity but is limited in the kind or amount of this activity.

b A condition is considered chronic if the respondent indicates it was first noticed more than 3 months before the reference date of the interview, or it is a type of condition that ordinarily has a duration of more than 3 months.

Source: Unpublished data from the National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Health Statistics.


37 A disease or impairment is classified as chronic if it has been apparent for at least 3 months or is a new condition that will ordinarily last for more than 3 months.

38 Estimates for white and black children exclude Hispanics of those races.

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