Well-Child Visits

Narrative

In 2012, 79.5 percent of children under 18 years of age were reported by their parents to have had a preventive or “well-child” medical visit in the past year, when they were not sick or injured. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have eight preventive health care visits in their first year, three in their second year, and at least one per year from age 3 through adolescence.1 Well-child visits offer an opportunity not only to monitor children’s health and provide immunizations but also to assess a child’s behavior and development, discuss nutrition, and answer parents’ questions.

The proportion of children receiving well-child visits declines with age. In 2012, 89.1 percent of children aged 4 and younger had received a preventive visit in the past year, compared to 79.2 percent of children 5–11 years of age and 72.0 percent of those aged 12–17 years (Figure 1). There was no significant difference between males and females in the proportion of children who received a well-child visit in the past year.

children who received a well-child visit by age

Figure 1 Source

Receipt of preventive medical care also varies by several other factors, including health insurance status and type of insurance, parental education, race and ethnicity, and nativity. In 2012, only 54.2 percent of uninsured children had received a well-child visit in the past year, compared to more than 80 percent of those with public or private insurance (Figure 2). Children with at least one parent who had attained more than a high-school level education were more likely to have received a past-year preventive medical visit (82.0 percent) compared to those for whom the highest level of parental education was a high school degree (76.0 percent) or less (72.3 percent).

children who received a well-child visit by health insurance

Figure 2 Source

With respect to race and ethnicity, non-Hispanic Black children were more likely to have received a well-child visit in the past year (85.1 percent) compared to non-Hispanic White children (79.9 percent) and Hispanic children (75.9 percent). Finally, children who were born in the United States were more likely than those born outside the United States to have had a well-child visit in the past year: 79.9 and 71.2 percent, respectively.

Data Sources

Figure 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Unpublished estimates. Analyzed by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Figure 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Unpublished estimates. Analyzed by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Endnotes

1 American Academy of Pediatrics. Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care (PDF). Accessed August 10, 2014.

Data

Statistical Significance Test

Calculate the difference between two estimates:

Calculated Z-Test Result 0.9567433 Not statistically significant

We follow statistical conventions in defining a significant difference by a p-value less than 0.05 where there is a less than 5% probability of observing a difference of that magnitude or greater by chance alone if there were really no difference between estimates. The 95% confidence interval includes a plausible range of values for the observed difference; 95% of random samples would include the true difference with fewer than 5% of random samples failing to capture the true difference.

This website allows comparisons between two estimates using the independent z-test for differences in rates or proportions. This test is appropriate for comparing independent populations across years (e.g., 2011 versus 2012) or subgroups (e.g., Male versus Female) on corresponding measures. To the extent possible, the functionality of this application has limited estimate comparisons based on appropriate use of the independent z-test. However, some tables present subgroup categories within broader categories that will allow comparisons between non-independent populations (e.g., low birth weight and very low birth weight). Users should exercise caution when interpreting these test results, which will frequently overstate statistical significance.

For some tables, the website does not allow for comparisons between two estimates, even though the data represent independent populations. Generally, this is because the standard errors were not publicly available at the time this website was created.

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