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Stunting the Growth of Child Health Research:  A Need to Reframe “Children Are Not Small Adults”

Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, Division of General Pediatrics, Division of General Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(7):598-599. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.165.
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The notion that “children are not small adults” has deep roots in intellectual thought. Influential scientists (Jean Piaget, PhD), educators (Maria Montessori, MD), and philosophers (Jean-Jacques Rosseau) each described how children are not only shorter in stature than adults, but also fundamentally different in their thoughts, actions, and consciousness.

Pediatricians have long adopted “children are not small adults” as a motivating mantra. Child health researchers utter the same aphorism to justify scientific inquiries specific to children’s health conditions and concerns and to remind public and private stakeholders (including Congress) why it is essential to conduct research regarding children.1

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Annual Total Health Care Expenditures

Annual total health care expenditures per capita, by age group and stratified by health status. Relative magnitude of expenditures for individuals in fair or poor health status vs excellent health status is indicated within each age group.5

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