PEDIATRIC CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS HAVE BECOME AN EPIDEMIC SINCE THE 1980s
A 2011 study reported that an estimated 43% of US children (32 million) currently have at least 1 of 20 chronic health conditions assessed, a list that includes learning disability, ADD/ADHD, autism, food allergies, asthma, chronic ear infections, ODD, migraine headache, speech problems, developmental delay, anxiety problems, depression, bone/joint or muscle problems, environmental allergies, hearing problems, vision problems, epilepsy or seizure disorder, diabetes, brain injury or concussion, and Tourette Syndrome . The % of impacted children increased to 54.1% when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included. That means that more than half of American children have a chronic health condition. Prevalence of chronic health conditions in US children began growing exponentially in the late 1980s:
- Autism: In the 1960s, 1 in 10,000 children suffered with autism. In the 1980s the rate increased dramatically to 1 in 2,500; the latest CDC study found that 1 in 68 children have autism
- ADHD: the number of preschool children receiving medication for ADHD tripled from 1990 to 1995; In 2008, 1 in 9 children were diagnosed with this learning disability.
- Food allergies were rare prior to the late 1980s. Food allergies (e.g. to peanuts) started to become more prevalent in the 1990s and have risen to a 1 in 25 rate today in children.
What has caused this epidemic of chronic health conditions? Emerging science suggests abnormal immune stimulation is the mechanism in susceptible individuals, such as perhaps individuals that do not have a healthy mix of bacteria in the gut.