Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. HC 2.8 Activity limitations

04/01/1997

Activity limitations refer to long term reductions in activities resulting from a chronic disease or impairment.26 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 (a) an inability to perform the major activity for a person in his or her age group, (b) being able to perform the major activity but being limited in the kind or amount of this activity, or (c) 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 hildren ages five 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.

Between 1990 and 1994 the percentage of children under age 18 with chronic conditions that limit any of their activity has risen from 4.9 percent to 6.7 percent (see Table HC 2.8.A). This trend is true for both males and females and whites and blacks, although the percentages are higher for males and for blacks. The percentage of children with limitations in major activities follows a similar upward trend since 1990 (see Table HC 2.8.B).

Differences by Gender. Males have consistently accounted for a greater percentage of youth with an activity limitation due to a chronic condition. In 1994, 7.9 percent of males compared to 5.6 percent of females had activity limitations that were caused by a chronic condition (see Figure HC 2.8.A). Looking only at limitations in major activities in 1994, 6.0 percent of males had such limitations compared to 3.8 percent of females (see Figure HC 2.8.B).

Differences by Race. Black youth are more likely than white youth to have activity limitations due to chronic conditions (see Table HC 2.8.A). In 1994, 8.8 percent of black youth had activity limitations compared to 6.4 percent of white youth. A similar gap existed for major activity limitations with 6.7 percent of black youth being limited in major activities and 4.7 percent of white youth.
 

Figure HC 2.8.A  
Percentage Under Age 18 With an Activity Limitation Due to Chronic Conditions, by Gender: Selected Years, 1983-1994 

HC2_8A.GIF

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Current Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey: United States 1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994.
 
 

Figure HC 2.8.B  
Percentage Under Age 18 With a Major Activity Limitation Due to Chronic Conditions, by Gender: Selected Years, 1983-1994 

HC2_8B.GIF

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Current Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey: United States 1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994.
 
 

Table HC 2.8.A 
Activity Limitations:a Percentage Under Age 18 With an Activity Limitation Due to Chronic Conditionsb

 
     
1983
1985
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
 
Total
5.1
5.1
4.9
5.8
6.1
6.6
6.7
  Gender
    Males
5.9
6
5.6
6.8
7.1
7.8
7.9
    Females
4.3
4.2
4.2
4.7
5
5.3
5.6
  Race/Ethnicity
    White
5
5.1
4.8
5.7
5.9
6.5
6.4
    Black
5.7
5.8
5.5
6.8
7.5
7.7
8.8
 
Notes: aAn activity limitation is defined as follows: Persons are classified in terms of the major activity usually associated with their particular age group. The major activities for the age groups are a) ordinary play for children under 5 years of age, b) attending school for those 5-17 years of age. A person is classified as having an activity limitation if he or she is: a) unable to perform the major activity, b) able to perform the major activity but limited in the kind or amount of this activity, c) not limited in the major activity but limited in the kind or amount of other activities.  
bA condition is considered chronic if a) the respondent indicates it was first noticed more than 3 months before the reference date of the interview or b) it is a type of condition that ordinarily has a duration of more than 3 months.  

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, "Current Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey: United States" 1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994.

 

Table HC 2.8.B 
Major Activity Limitations:a Percentage Under Age 18 With an Activity Limitation In a Major Activity Due to Chronic Conditionsb

 
     
1983
1985
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
3.5
3.7
3.6
4.2
4.4
4.6
4.9
  Gender
 
 
Males
4.2
4.4
4.2
5
5.2
5.6
6
 
 
Females
2.8
2.9
3
3.3
3.7
3.5
3.8
  Race/Ethnicity
    White
3.4
3.5
3.5
4.1
4.3
4.5
4.7
    Black
4.5
4.6
4.2
5.2
6
5.7
6.7
 
Notes:   aAn activity limitation is defined as follows: Persons are classified in terms of the major activity usually associated with their particular age group. The major activities for the age groups are a) ordinary play for children under 5 years of age, b) attending school for those 5-17 years of age. A person is classified as having an activity limitation if he or she is: a) unable to perform the major activity, b) able to perform the major activity but limited in the kind or amount of this activity, c) not limited in the major activity but limited in the kind or amount of other activities.  
bA condition is considered chronic if a) the respondent indicates it was first noticed more than 3 months before the reference date of the interview or b) it is a type of condition that ordinarily has a duration of more than 3 months.  

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, "Current Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey: United States" 1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994.

 

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

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