As Childhood Obesity Balloons, So Do Childhood Medications

Large study finds medication for obesity-related conditions jumps 15.2 percent over three years
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- The epidemic of childhood obesity has resulted in the increased medication of children for obesity-linked chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated serum lipids, according to a report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, which focuses on childhood obesity in its April issue. Other studies in the issue also explore the obesity epidemic in U.S. youth.

Joshua N. Liberman, Ph.D., of CVS Caremark in Hunt Valley, Md., and colleagues tracked the use of prescription drugs by 6 million children aged 6 to 18 from September 2004 through June 2007. During the three years, the one-month prevalence of antihypertensive, dyslipidemic or oral antidiabetic medication or insulin use increased from 3.3 per 1,000 youths in November 2004 to 3.8 per 1,000 in June 2007, a 15.2 percent jump.

In other studies, Sarah E. Anderson, Ph.D., of the Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus, and colleagues detected disparities in obesity along racial/ethnic lines in 8,550 children aged 4 years who participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort. Also, Y. Claire Wang, M.D., of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data on beverage consumption from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 3,098 children and adolescents 2 to 19 years old and found that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water could reduce energy intake by 235 kcal/d. Meanwhile, Amika S. Singh, Ph.D., of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues provided schools an 11-lesson physical education curriculum and encouragement to provide healthful foods.

"Finally, as the science matures, it will be important to come to a consensus on the most important weight-related outcomes to evaluate," Leslie A. Lytle, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, noted in correspondence. "Until the obesity-prevention field comes to that consensus, we will have difficulty understanding the significance of the piecemeal findings that we often encounter with regard to change in body composition and anthropometric data."

Abstract - Liberman
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Abstract - Anderson
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Abstract - Wang
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Abstract - Singh
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