and Child Health Epidemiology report
- WHO Materna
China is a large country where rapid development is accompanied by growing inequalities. How economic inequalities translate to health inequalities is unknown. Baseline health assessment is lacking among rural Chinese children. We aimed at assessing baseline student health of rural Chinese children and comparing them with those of urban children of similar ages. A cross-sectional study was conducted using the 2003 Global School-Based Student Health Survey among 100 students Grade 4 to 6 from rural Guizhou, China. Results were summarized and compared with public data from urban Beijing using multivariate logistic regression models. Rural children are more likely to not wash their hands before a meal (odds ratio [OR] = 5.71, P < .01) and after using the toilet (OR = 5.41, P < .01). They are more likely to feel sick or to get into trouble after drinking (OR = 7.28, P < .01). They are more likely to have used drugs (OR = 8.54, P < .01) and to have no close friends (OR = 8.23, P < .01). An alarming percentage of rural (8.22%) and urban (14.22%) children have had suicidal ideation in the past year (OR = 0.68, P > .05). Rural parents are more likely to not know their children’s whereabouts (OR = 1.81, P < .05). Rural children are more than 4 times likely to have serious injuries (OR = 4.64, P < .01) and to be bullied (OR = 4.01, P < .01). In conclusion, school-age rural Chinese children exhibit more health risk behaviors and fewer protective factors at baseline compared to their urban counterparts. Any intervention aimed at improving child health should take this distributive gap into consideration.