tion of specific comparable health measures to the most comprehensive current surveys.
Recommendation 3: National surveys of health and health influences, such as the National Health Interview Survey, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies, and the National Children’s Study initiative, should address gaps in what is now collected and reported to reflect a more comprehensive, developmentally oriented conceptualization of children’s health and its influences. Particular attention should be paid to adding data on functioning and health potential.
Although in the committee’s view policy makers should attend to the needs of all children, certain subgroups of children defined by race, ethnicity, immigration status, and socioeconomic status experience poorer health outcomes and receipt of services in ways that affect their future potential for healthy, productive adulthood. The factors leading to the development of health differences at all socioeconomic levels are poorly understood, although many have origins early in life. Better information and more conclusive evidence are needed to target interventions and to design effective policies to ameliorate these disparities. There also are differences in how various cultural and ethnic groups interpret symptoms and signs of disease that, in turn, alter their interpretation of inquiries about health and patterns of services.
Despite a large body of research on health disparities across subgroups defined by socioeconomic status, standards have not been established to characterize socioeconomic status across surveys and administrative records; the same is true for social discrimination and the effects of culture. However, ample methodological research has led to thoughtful recommendations on how surveys and administrative records could gather reliable measures of the education, household income, or occupational dimensions of socioeconomic status.
Recommendation 4: National and state surveys and records-based sources of data on children’s health and its influences should gather systematic, standardized data on racial, ethnic, immigration, and socioeconomic classifications in order to measure the origins, distribution, and development of disparities in children’s health and facilitate linkage and analysis across multiple datasets.
An emerging body of evidence demonstrates a clear association between health and aspects of geographic location, such as neighborhood socioeconomic