Chronic illnesses are defined as conditions that last at least three months, require extensive hospitalization or in-home health services, or at the time of diagnosis are likely to do so. Chronic illnesses affect at least 10 percent to 15 percent of American children.1 Two to four percent of children have severe illnesses that interfere daily with the usual activities of childhood.2 Rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, leukemia and other malignancies, spina bifida, seizure disorders, neuromuscular diseases, AIDS, and other chronic conditions are most frequently found in this population.

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