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Sick children have lower quality of life

Children with chronic diseases have a poorer quality of life than healthy children.

This is in part due to their physical complaints such as pain or due to psychosocial problems such as being less confident. It can also have a negative impact on the children's parents and family.

These are the findings of a joint study conducted by Erasmus MC and the CBS (Statistics Netherlands). The study was published in the scientific journal Plos One.

The study investigated the impact of chronic conditions such as asthma, eczema, dyslexia, ADHD, and migraines on the health experiences of children. Children with multiple conditions have a poorer quality of life than children with one disease. 
 ''Because of the high quality care and treatment provided in the Netherlands, the differences are usually not dramatic", says Hein Raat, Professor of  Infant, Child and Adolescent Public Health at Erasmus MC's department of Public Health.

"But this study does show that asthma, eczema, dyslexia, ADHD, and migraines really do have an impact on the lives of children and this parents. This calls for more attention. For example, teachers at schools could be urged to be alert to pupils who have one or more chronic conditions." 

When a child has a chronic condition, it can also affect the emotional well-being of the parents and the functioning of the family. Particularly the parents of children with ADHD have indicated that they are concerned that family activities are affected by the condition and that it can have an impact on the entire family.

The study was conducted among 5,300 Dutch children aged between 4 and 11 with and without chronic conditions. Their parents answered questions on the conditions and the health experiences of their children. The answers were converted into scores  based  on an internationally used list (Child Health Questionnaire Parent Form 28), so as to be able to measure the children's quality of life.

Date published: 26 June 2017.

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