A new study has given hard facts to prove increased child medical prescriptions for chronic illnesses, especially diabetes, between 2002-2005. In fact, diabetes rates have doubled in recent years.
The research, published in the US journal Pediatrics, found that medication for type 2 diabetes for five to 19 year-olds increased by 103 percent over the period, with the increase most marked among girls (up 147 percent) compared with boys (up 38.7 percent).
Prescriptions for asthma increased 46.5 percent, while those for attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity leapt 40 percent and were three times more prevalent among boys than girls. Cholesterol treatments rose 15 percent.
"Prevalence of chronic medication use in children increased across all therapy classes evaluated," concluded the study, undertaken by medical insurance group Express Scripts and St. Louis University.
"Additional study is needed into the factors influencing these trends, including growth in chronic disease risk factors, greater awareness and greater affinity towards early use of drug therapy in children," it said.
Prevalence rates showed 0.31 per thousand were taking medication for diabetes type 2, 29.5 per thousand children for asthma, 25.4 per thousand for attention deficit disorder and 0.27 per thousand for cholesterol.
A total 15.65 per thousand were taking anti-depressants, a rate that increased 1.8 percent over the period, with a 7.2-percent increase among girls and a 3.8-percent decline among boys.