Timing of Physician Visits
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have eight health care visits in their first year, three in their second year, and at least one per year from middle childhood through adolescence. In 2005, 11.4 percent of children under 18 years of age had not seen a physician or other health care professional in the previous year (not including overnight hospitalization, trips to the emergency room, home visits, or dental visits). Older children were less likely than younger children to have seen a physician. More than 15 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds had not had a physician visit in the previous year, compared to only 6.1 percent of children under 5 years of age.
Physician visits varied with race and ethnicity across all age groups in 2005. Almost 17 percent of all Hispanic children did not see a physician, compared to 9.2 percent of non-Hispanic White children and 10.8 percent of non-Hispanic Black children. In every age group, Hispanic children were the least likely to have seen a physician in the previous year, while non-Hispanic White children were most likely to have seen a physician. Non-Hispanic White children and non- Hispanic Black children had similar rates except among children aged 15–17 years (10.4 and 17.6 percent, respectively). Hispanic children aged 15–17 years were the most likely not to have seen a physician in the past year (27.2 percent).