File(s) under permanent embargo

Parent-reported prevalence and persistence of 19 common child health conditions

journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2018, 00:00 authored by T Liu, R Lingam, Kate LycettKate Lycett, F K Mensah, J Muller, H Hiscock, M H Huque, M Wake
To estimate prevalence and persistence of 19 common paediatric conditions from infancy to 14–15 years.
Design : Population-based prospective cohort study.
Setting : Australia.
Participants : Parallel cohorts assessed biennially from 2004 to 2014 from ages 0–1 and 4–5 years to 10–11 and 14–15 years, respectively, in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
Main outcome measures : 19 health conditions: 17 parent-reported, 2 (overweight/obesity, obesity) directly assessed. Two general measures: health status, special health care needs. Analysis: (1) prevalence estimated in 2-year age-bands and (2) persistence rates calculated at each subsequent time point for each condition among affected children.
Results : 10 090 children participated in Wave 1 and 6717 in all waves. From age 2, more than 60% of children were experiencing at least one health condition at any age. Distinct prevalence patterns by age-bands comprised eight conditions that steadily rose (overweight/obesity, obesity, injury, anxiety/depression, frequent headaches, abdominal pain, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Six conditions fell with age (eczema, sleep problems, day-wetting, soiling, constipation, recurrent tonsillitis), three remained stable (asthma, diabetes, epilepsy) and two peaked in mid-childhood (dental decay, recurrent ear infections). Conditions were more likely to persist if present for 2 years; persistence was especially high for obesity beyond 6–7 (91.3%–95.1% persisting at 14–15).
Conclusions : Beyond infancy, most Australian children are experiencing at least one ongoing health condition at any given time. This study’s age-specific estimates of prevalence and persistence should assist families and clinicians to plan care. Conditions showing little resolution (obesity, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) require long-term planning and management.



Archives of Disease in Childhood






548 - 556


B M J Group


London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, The Authors