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Mental disorders, asthma, and trauma injuries topped the list of most costly medical conditions in children in 2006

Research Activities, June 2009, No. 346

Over $98 billion was spent to treat medical problems in children age 17 and under in 2006, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Treating mental disorders in children topped the list at a cost of $8.9 billion. Rounding out the top five most costly medical conditions in children were:

  • Asthma, one of the most common serious chronic illnesses in children, $8 billion.
  • Trauma-related disorders—including fractures, sprains, burns, and other physical injuries from accidents or violence, $6.1 billion.
  • Acute bronchitis—inflammation of the airways of the lungs that causes shortness or breath and wheezing, $3.1 billion.
  • Acute infectious diseases—such as viral and bacterial infections, $2.9 billion.

These findings are from the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the use of health services by Americans, frequency and cost of use, and source of payment. For more information go to The Five Most Costly Children's Conditions, 2006: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian, Noninstitutionalized Children, Ages 0 to 17, MEPS Statistical Brief #242, on the MEPS Web site at http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_stats/Pub_ProdResults_Details.jsp?pt=Statistical%20Brief&opt=2&id=903.

Current as of June 2009
Internet Citation: Mental disorders, asthma, and trauma injuries topped the list of most costly medical conditions in children in 2006: Research Activities, June 2009, No. 346. June 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/research-activities/jun09/0609RA46.html