Thursday, June 28, 2007

U.S. children with chronic health problems has soared

Spike in kids’ health issues foretells problems
Reuters News Service

WASHINGTON - The number of U.S. children with chronic health problems such as obesity has soared in the past four decades, foreshadowing increases in adult disability and public health-care spending, researchers said on Tuesday.

More time in front of the television and use of other electronic media, decreased physical activity, increased time spent indoors, increased consumption of fast foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, and changes in parenting are all likely to blame, the researchers said.

Writing in an issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association devoted to childhood chronic disease, researchers tracked rising rates of obesity, asthma and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, among U.S. children.

In the early 1970s, about 5 percent of children ages 5 to 18 were obese, compared to about 18 percent now, the researchers said. Asthma rates are estimated at 9 percent among these children, doubling since the 1980s, they said. See:

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