Kids Grow Up So Fast These Days…
It’s a common refrain, but are children actually growing up faster than they used to? A surprising number of kids today are being diagnosed with diseases we always used to associated with aging. Many of these diseases can be traced back to the so-called “Obesity Epidemic” among American kids.
To determine how many kids in America suffer from these adult-onset diseases, we looked at anonymous data from nearly half a million pediatric checkups in Practice Fusion’s electronic health record (EHR) system and then extrapolated to the entire United States. Here’s what we’ve found:
Perhaps most alarming is that over 3 million 10-18 year olds suffer from hypertension (the medical term for high blood pressure). Reflecting a recent study in the Netherlands, our data indicated that childhood obesity greatly increases the risks of such cardiovascular diseases. As seen below, obese children face over three times the risk for hypertension as children at a healthy weight:
Type II Diabetes has also been increasingly common among American children. Once called “Adult-Onset Diabetes” by medical professionals – in contrast to Type I “Juvenile Diabetes” – the age distinction is rapidly disappearing. More and more children are being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, which makes up nearly 30% of the diabetes cases in 17 year-olds:
Childhood obesity once more appears to be highly correlated with the onset of an “adult” disease in this case. Type II Diabetes is much more common in obese kids, even among kids under 10 years old. What’s worse, even more obese kids have been diagnosed with “Pre-Diabetes”—they don’t yet meet the criteria for Type II Diabetes but are at high risk of developing it:
Obesity in children is unfortunately very high, and likely rising. We find that about 21% of US children are obese, and another 16.5% are in the less severe “overweight” category:
At least we already know the best way to prevent childhood obesity: healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Of course, the hard part is getting this to happen.
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