In spite of all the natural health articles, discussions and general attention to the dangers of prescription drugs, there has nevertheless been a huge increase in the use of long term prescription drugs by our children.
Why we should be concerned
The frightening fact is that more than 25% of children now take at least one prescription drug for a chronic condition. This means an ongoing long term ingestion of a pharmaceutical medication for at least 1 out of every 4 children. While you can understand that some children obviously suffer from asthma and other childhood diseases, the even more worrying aspect is that most of these children are being treated for adult diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These diseases should not even be appearing in children – they are lifestyle conditions brought on for the most part by poor nutrition choices, lack of exercise and more.
In a report submitted by Medco Health Solutions, Robert Epstein says: "What's surprising is the type of drugs these children are taking. All these adult drugs are popping up in children, which is really disturbing."
Type 2 diabetes drugs
Apparently, the use of type 2 diabetes drugs in children in 2009 increased by 5.3%. But the total increase since 2001 was 150% - that is just in 9 years with the added concern that in girls between the ages of 10 to 19, the increase was a staggering 200% plus. Over the same period, the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs increased 50% and the use of blood pressure drugs increased by 24%.
Robert Epstein comments further: "The obesity problem is contributing not just to diabetes but to a lot of other problems. We've got to get our arms around some very fast lifestyle modification or we're going to have a real problem, having these adult illnesses show up in children who will have a changing life expectancy if they're going to be sick from a very young age.
Children with adult type conditions
It is a huge concern is that even when these children have become sick with adult type conditions, they are just given the drugs with no apparent effort to change their lifestyle habits and to educate both themselves and their parents to live more healthily. In many cases, that is all that is needed to bring these problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol back to normal levels.
In a recent article in the New York Times, Stephanie Saul wrote that in July 2010, the American Academy of Pediatric
s said that more children, as young as 8, should be given cholesterol-lowering drugs. The recommendation was quickly attacked by some experts as a license to put children on grown-up drugs. While the drugs do help treat the conditions, some doctors fear they are simply a short cut for a problem better addressed by exercise and diet.
Pharmaceutical companies are developing flavored versions of adult medications for children
Well of course they would. They are not going to miss out on an opportunity to increase their profits.
If children are going to have these conditions, there will undoubtedly be other problems too such as lack of self confidence or self esteem and depression without going into the possible side effects of the chemical based drugs themselves.
It opens up a whole big can of worms and a very worrying scenario for the future.