Why Isn’t There More Data on Children’s Health?

In this article, we'll delve into the reasons behind this data deficit, explore its implications, and highlight how technologies like Littlebird are pioneering a path toward a more informed future for pediatric health care.
Amelia Protiva
2 min read

As parents, our primary concern is the well-being and health of our children. We constantly seek information that can guide us in making the best decisions for their care and development. However, many of us encounter a surprising and frustrating obstacle: a lack of comprehensive data on children's health–including, but not limited to mental, physical, behavioral, and developmental health. This gap in information is not just a minor inconvenience; it represents a significant barrier to advancing pediatric healthcare and addressing the unique needs of our youngest population.

In this article, we'll delve into the reasons behind this data deficit, explore its implications, and highlight how technologies like Littlebird are pioneering a path toward a more informed future for pediatric health care.

The Scarcity of Pediatric Health Data

The scarcity of clinical trials focused on pediatric health is a critical issue in the United States, particularly in areas with high clinical need. While the number of randomized controlled trials in adults has nearly doubled over two decades, the number of pediatric trials has remained largely the same¹. And despite children contributing to almost 60% of the total disease burden, only 12% of trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov focus on pediatric populations². This disparity is further exacerbated by a lack of trials in younger children, particularly newborns, where they are most needed. Addressing these disparities is essential to ensuring equitable access to healthcare for all children worldwide³.

Why the Data Gap Exists:

Several factors contribute to the scarcity of pediatric health data:

1. Ethical Considerations: Conducting research on children poses ethical dilemmas that aren’t as prevalent in adult studies. The need for additional safeguards to protect young participants can make these trials more complex and challenging to execute.

2. Regulatory and Financial Hurdles: Pediatric studies often require more time and resources than adult studies. They may necessitate specific formulations, dosages, and monitoring protocols, increasing the cost and complexity of research efforts.

3. A Focus on Adult Conditions: Many diseases studied are more common in adults, leading to a research emphasis on this demographic. This focus diverts attention and resources away from pediatric conditions, some of which may be rare and less commercially appealing to fund.

The Role of Technologies Like Littlebird

Recognizing the critical need for more robust pediatric health data, solutions like Littlebird are stepping in to fill the void. Littlebird is at the forefront of helping families establish accessible data baselines for children's health that parents can utilize in their care decisions. By leveraging technology and community engagement, Littlebird aims to democratize health information, ensuring parents have the insights they need to navigate their children’s health + care with confidence.

Stay Informed

The scarcity of data on children’s health is a multifaceted issue that requires a concerted effort from researchers, policymakers, and the medical community. As parents, staying informed about the challenges and supporting initiatives like Littlebird can empower us to advocate for better health outcomes for our children. Together, we can work towards a future where every decision we make for our children’s health is informed by comprehensive, inclusive, and accessible data.


¹ Cohen E, Uleryk E, Jasuja M, Parkin PC. An absence of pediatric randomized controlled trials in general medical journals, 1985–2004. J Clin Epidemiol. 2007;60:118–123. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17208117

² Bourgeois FT, Murthy S, Pinto C, Olson KL, Ioannidis JP, Mandl KD. Pediatric versus adult drug trials for conditions with high pediatric disease burden. Pediatrics. 2012;130:285–292. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408692/

³ Pathma D Joseph, Jonathan C Craig, Patrina HY Caldwell. Clinical trials in children. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2015 Mar; 79(3): 357–369. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345947/

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