Internet Survey of Childhood Hypothyroidism

Program: Abstracts - Orals, Featured Poster Presentations, and Posters
Session: SAT 281-290-Comparative Effectiveness/Health Outcomes/Quality Improvement/Patient or Provider Education/Endocrine Emergencies
Saturday, June 15, 2013: 1:45 PM-3:45 PM
Expo Halls ABC (Moscone Center)

Poster Board SAT-286
Eric Chen*1, Samantha Madala2, Steven Young3, Vinna Nam4, Anh Tran4 and Gloria Wu5
1University of British Columbia, San Jose, CA, 2Harker School, San Jose, CA, 3University of California, Irvine, San Jose, CA, 4University of California, Berkeley, San Jose, CA, 5Stanford University Medical Center, San Jose, CA
Purpose: Hypothyroidism affects 4.6% of the population in the US and 3.4% in India. Using an internet questionnaire, we tested the hypothesis that knowledge of childhood hypothyroidism differed by country and gender. 

Methods: An internet questionnaire was posted on Facebook and other online distribution services over a three-month period in 2012. The questionnaire was repeatedly reposted due to spam filters. Responders (RE) were required to be ≥18 years of age.  

Results: Total of 2430 RE:  1,194 from US and 1,236 from India.  

Age: US RE were in the age range of 31 yrs to ≥ 51 yrs: Males (M) (76.5%,231/302) vs Females (F) (80.9%,724/895). In contrast,  the majority of respondents from India were younger: M (70%,492/702) and F (52.2%,279/534) in India were in the age range of 18-30 yrs vs in US,  only M (23.5%,71/302), F (17.9%,161/895).

Education : In  the US,  college or post graduate education:  M (88.1%,266/302) vs F (91.3%,817/895); India: M and F have similar education:  M (94.3%,662/702) vs F (91.2%,487/534).

Questionnaire: RE answered yes/no to a list of signs and symptoms of childhood hypothyroidism: tiredness, reading problems, anxiousness, unable to complete homework, disorganized, tiredness, too focused,  forgetfulness. Chi sq analysis was used.

US vs India: Anxiousness: M (47.9%,283/1197) of the US RE vs F (23.6%,592/1236) of the India RE identified "anxiousness" as a symptom (p<0.0001).  Tiredness: US M (59.1%,621/1197)  vs F (51.8%,731/1236) in India identified "tiredness" as a symptom (p<0.0003).

Gender: In India, there is a gender difference with  “reading,” M (15.4%,107/702) vs F (20.2%,108/534) (p=0.02); “anxiousness:” M (44.7%,314/702) vs F (52.1%,278/534) (p=0.01); “disorganized behavior:” M (23.6%,166/702) vs F (35.7%,191/534) (p<0.01). Indian females show more knowledge than their male counterparts. 

There is gender difference in the US, with “tiredness:” M (44.7%,135/302) vs F (54.3%,486/895) (p<0.01); “forgetfulness:” M (28.15%,85/302) vs F (34.4%,308/895) (p=0.05). Females know more in both US and India  than their male counterparts despite similar educational backgrounds.

For both countries, gender plays a role: with respect to “developmental problems:” in US, M (28.8%,87/302) vs F (17.9%,161/895) (p=0.001) and in India, M (39.4%,277/702) vs F (47.3%,253/534) (p=0.005). Indian Females know more about this than Female counterparts in the US.

Conclusions: Overall knowledge about childhood hypothyroidism in the US and India is low in our internet questionnaire. In our sample, gender differences in knowledge about hypothyroidism exist more in India than in US. This may be a result of overall lower age and education in the India sample or the self-selected nature of the Internet survey sample. Nonetheless, more health education about causes and symptoms of hypothyroidism is needed.

Nothing to Disclose: EC, SM, SY, VN, AT, GW

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