The prevalence of special health care needs among children increases with age. Preschool children (from birth to 5 years of age) have the lowest prevalence of special health care needs (9.3 percent), followed by children aged 6-11 years (17.7 percent). Children in the oldest age group (12-17 years) have the highest prevalence of special health care needs (18.4 percent). The higher prevalence among older children is likely to be attributable to conditions that are not diagnosed or that do not develop until later in childhood.

The prevalence of special health care needs among children also varies by sex: 17.4 percent of boys are estimated to have special health care needs, compared to 12.7 percent of girls.

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