Child Health

Racism’s Dangerous Impact on Child Health

August 8, 2019 | National

Last week our friends at the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement, “The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health,” which provides an evidence-based account of the ways in which racism is a driver of health inequities.

“Although progress has been made toward racial equality and equity,” the AAP policy states, “the evidence to support continued negative impact of racism on health and well-being through implicit and explicit biases, institutional structures, and interpersonal relationships is clear.”

The policy statement supports the findings of a number of recent studies examining the ways in which racism can adversely affect health. In addition, it provides a historical perspective on the persistence of racism and its effect on health outcomes, while also offering practical ways health professionals can begin to address the effects of racism on children and adolescents. The AAP policy calls on pediatricians and health professionals to acknowledge the role of racism, examine their own biases and proactively integrate structural and individual-level strategies that optimize professional practice. Read AAP’s full policy statement to learn more about the impact racism has on child health and what health professionals can do to address it.