Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Uninsured Children in Texas

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Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among US children is 12% according to the 2012 National Health Interview Study. Certain pediatric populations have higher CAM use. We studied an uninsured population because limited access to care likely results in higher CAM use. We surveyed 250 uninsured patients in a free pediatric mobile clinic program. In the largely Hispanic population, rate of CAM use in the preceding 12 months was 45% among children and 59% among parents. Ninety-one percent of children who used CAM had parents who used CAM while only 32% of parents used CAM for themselves but did not use CAM for their children (P < .001). Seven parents (3%) and 4 children (2%) had ever discussed their CAM use with a physician. Since CAM use is significant in this uninsured population and families do not generally discuss CAM with physicians, health care providers must ask about CAM use and provide guidance.

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