To evaluate how race, ethnicity, and social determinants of health (SDOH) are reported and discussed in three pediatrics journals.
Bibliometric analysis of original articles that enrolled children as participants between January-June 2021 published in The Journal of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, and JAMA Pediatrics. We recorded in aggregate the inclusion of race, ethnicity, and SDOH data from the methods, results, and discussion sections of each article. We then used chi-squared analyses and t-tests to compare recording and use of race, ethnicity, and SDOH data on a number of factors.
A total of 317 original articles were included with 200 (63.1%) conducted in the United States (US). Researchers presented 116 unique race and ethnicity categories. US studies reported race significantly more frequently than international studies (166/200, 83.0% versus 29/117, 24.8% p < 0.001), yet only 24.7% (41/166) of US and 10.3% (3/29) of international studies that reported these data interpreted their significance and linked such to their study findings. US Federal funding influenced reporting of race and ethnicity but not interpretation. Less than half of all studies reported SDOH (147/317, 46.4%), and very few that reported SDOH interpreted the data to study findings in both the US (18/106, 17.0%) and internationally (3/41, 7.3%).
Race, ethnicity, and SDOH data are reported without consistent categories, and their significance is not often explained in both US and international articles. Researchers should be more intentional about how and why they collect, report, and interpret these data to help identify health disparities and highlight health inequities.

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