Primary healthcare usage and use of medications among immigrant children according to age of arrival to Norway: A population-based study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Morbidity, use of healthcare and medication use have been reported to vary across groups of migrants and according to the different phases of migration, but little is known about children with immigrant background. In this study, we investigate whether the immigrant children's age of arrival predicts differences in usage of primary healthcare (PHC) and in use of prescribed medication. Methods: This nationwide, population-based study used information for children under 18 years of age in 2008 from three linked registers in Norway. Use of medication was assessed with logistic regression analyses presented with ORs with 95% CIs. Results: Of 1 168 365 children, 119 251 had immigrant background. The mean number of PHC visits among children aged 10–18 years, was 1.19 for non-immigrants, 1.17 among second generation immigrants, 1.12, 1.05 and 0.83 among first immigrant children who were <5, 5–9 and ≥10 years at arrival in Norway, respectively. Patterns were similar for younger immigrants, and were confirmed with regression models adjusting for age and sex. First generation immigrant children used less of nearly all groups of prescribed medication compared to non-immigrants when adjusting for age and sex (overall OR 0.48 (0.47 to 0.49)), and medication was also generally less used among second generation immigrant children (overall OR 0.92 (0.91 to 0.94)). Conclusions: Age of arrival predicted PHC usage among children among first-generation children. First-generation immigrant children, particularly those arriving later in adolescence, used PHC less than age corresponding non-immigrant children. Immigrant children used less prescribed medication compared to non-immigrants after adjustment for age and sex.