High-consulting children indicate illness-prone families. A study of 38 rural and 38 urban Swedish children's health and use of medical care

Scand J Prim Health Care. 1996 Jun;14(2):71-8. doi: 10.3109/02813439608997074.


Objective: To study health problems and use of medical care in a group of rural and urban children. To relate a number of socio-demographic factors to the children's consultation frequency. To compare high- and low-consulting children with respect to socio-economic status of the family and use of medical care and sicklisting pattern of their parents.

Design: Health check-up at school start. Investigation of the children's medical records from birth to the age of seven, and of their parents' use of primary medical care during the same period.

Setting: Lammhult, a rural community with 3000 inhabitants, and Teleborg, an urban district with 9000 inhabitants, situated in Växjö town, southern Sweden.

Subjects: 38 rural and 38 urban preschool children, as well as their parents.

Main outcome measures: Medical visits encountered and antibiotic courses prescribed during the first seven years of life.

Results: Parents having manual occupations and mother being a smoker were factors of importance for the children's use of health and medical care (i.e. gave a high number of medical visits). The 14 high consulters had recurring respiratory tract infections and allergic/asthmatic complaints. Their parents were also high users of primary medical care and they were more often sick-listed than parents of low-consulting children. Rural and urban children made the same number of medical visits and received the same number of antibiotic courses during their first seven years of life.

Conclusion: With respect to the children's use of health and medical care, we found only minor differences between rural and urban children, whereas socio-economic characteristics of the families were of importance. Moreover, high-consulting children had parents who were high users of primary medical care and who were often sick-listed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Rural Population
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Urban Population


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents