Caring for American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Adolescents

Pediatrics. 2021 Apr;147(4):e2021050498. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-050498. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations have substantial health inequities, and most of their disease entities begin in childhood. In addition, AI/AN children and adolescents have excessive disease rates compared with the general pediatric population. Because of this, providers of pediatric care are in a unique position not only to attenuate disease incidence during childhood but also to improve the health status of this special population as a whole. This policy statement examines the inequitable disease burden observed in AI/AN youth, with a focus on toxic stress, mental health, and issues related to suicide and substance use disorder, risk of and exposure to injury and violence in childhood, obesity and obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors and disease, foster care, and the intersection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and Two-Spirit and AI/AN youth. Opportunities for advocacy in policy making also are presented.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Alaskan Natives*
  • American Indians or Alaska Natives*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Child Advocacy
  • Exposure to Violence
  • Foster Home Care
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services, Indigenous
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Human Trafficking
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Pediatric Obesity
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • United States