Epidemiology of skin diseases in school children: a study from northern India

Pediatr Dermatol. Nov-Dec 2003;20(6):470-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2003.20602.x.


Little information is available about the prevalence of skin conditions among children in the general population of northern India. Low socioeconomic status, malnutrition, overcrowding, and poor standards of hygiene are important factors accounting for the distribution of skin diseases in developing countries such as India. In order to estimate the burden and relative frequency of dermatologic diseases among children in the community, we measured the point prevalence of skin conditions in 12,586 Indian school children ages 6-14 years. The overall point prevalence of one or more identifiable/apparent skin conditions was 38.8%. Of those studied, 3786 children (30%) had only one skin disease, 765 (6%) had two, and 336 (2.7%) had three skin pathologies. The most common skin conditions and their respective point prevalences were skin infections (11.4%), pityriasis alba (8.4%), dermatitis/nonspecific eczemas (5.2%), infestations (5.0%), disorders of pigmentation (2.6%), keratinization disorders (mostly keratosis pilaris) (1.3%), and nevi/hamartomas (1.1%). This study shows that skin conditions are common in children and about one-third of them are affected at any given time. The finding that more than 85% of the disorders can be grouped into fewer than eight categories is important in designing training programs for medical teams involved in the delivery of primary health care services in developing countries such as India, where about one-third of the population is less than 15 years of age.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Planning
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Schools
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Skin Diseases / etiology*
  • Skin Diseases / prevention & control
  • Suburban Health