Children and Medications
Friday, February 13, 2009

The number of children who take medication for chronic diseases has jumped dramatically, another troubling sign that many of the youngest Americans are struggling with obesity. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this troubling trend in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Medication is increasingly being used to treat children and teens with obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and depression.

In addition, more children and teens between 5 and 19 are taking drugs for asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to researchers at St. Louis University.

The findings came from data for more than 3.5 million commercially insured people between the ages of 5 and 19 between 2002 to 2005.

During that time, the prevalence rate for diabetes medicines among those youngsters doubled, and asthma medication use jumped 47 percent. Drugs use to combat ADHD rose 40 percent, and 15 percent for medications to lower lipids and cholesterol.

The number of children taking drugs to treat chronic conditions increased across all treatment classes evaluated.

Researchers say additional study is needed into the factors influencing these trends, including growth in chronic disease risk factors, greater awareness and screening and greater affinity toward early use of drug therapy in children.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.