Policy solutions to eliminate racial and ethnic child health disparities in the USA

Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2024 Feb;8(2):159-174. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(23)00262-6.


Societal systems act individually and in combination to create and perpetuate structural racism through both policies and practices at the local, state, and federal levels, which, in turn, generate racial and ethnic health disparities. Both current and historical policy approaches across multiple sectors-including housing, employment, health insurance, immigration, and criminal legal-have the potential to affect child health equity. Such policies must be considered with a focus on structural racism to understand which have the potential to eliminate or at least attenuate disparities. Policy efforts that do not directly address structural racism will not achieve equity and instead worsen gaps and existing disparities in access and quality-thereby continuing to perpetuate a two-tier system dictated by racism. In Paper 2 of this Series, we build on Paper 1's summary of existing disparities in health-care delivery and highlight policies within multiple sectors that can be modified and supported to improve health equity, and, in so doing, improve the health of racially and ethnically minoritised children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Health Equity*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Policy
  • Racism* / prevention & control
  • United States