Are your kids on drugs? Did they get them from your doctor? You're not alone. A new study published in the November issue of Pediatrics Journal shows that the trends for chronic medication in children are way up. The three year study found that the number of type 2 diabetes medications prescribed for kids and adolescents more than doubled from 2002 to 2005, with a high prevalence among girls aged 10 to 19. Researchers from the Pediatric Research Institute of St Louis University and the Kansas Health Institute reported that the number of asthma medication prescriptions for children increased 46.5% over the three year study. ADHD medication prescriptions were up over 40%, and girls again accounted for a larger percentage of the increase than boys.

With the mixed messages from the mainstream media about the causes for ADHD, asthma and diabetes, more parents are seeking the help of their MD and the pharmacy to help solve their children's health problems. Today's kids are already carrying a heavy body burden from pollutants in the air, water, household products and food additives. On top of this, many more children are being treated with prescription medication for diabetes, asthma, ADHD, and high blood pressure than ever before.

The data used for the study came from prescription claims from over three and a half million children aged 5 to 19, and did not try to link obesity and chronic medication use. With obesity in kids now reaching epidemic proportions in the US, and the number of overweight children doubling in the last two to three decades, the association between obesity and the need for prescription medications was an obvious connection not explored in this study.

The authors cited the need for further research into the reasons behind the increases. They stated that it is unknown whether the growth is attributable to a greater awareness of health issues and more screening of children, an increase in risk factors, or a greater willingness by doctors to use drug therapy in children.

Some self-evident connections not studied by the authors were the relationship between children's food choices, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle. For parents, exploring this link could mean the difference between a lifestyle change and the disappearance of symptoms, or the life-long addiction to chronic medications to treat common symptoms of a modern lifestyle.

Let's hope the authors investigate further.

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