I was talking with friends the other day about how the upcoming generation will never know about cassette tapes or the struggle of using a phone pre-4G. But it got me thinking about more than just the fact that I’m apparently old. It got me wondering what other things have drastically changed over the years. After some research, I found drastic changes are happening in other areas. They’re happening to our children, specifically to their health. The prevalence of disease and disabilities is on the rise and the numbers of the rise of chronic illness in children are terrifying. Have a look at what I found:
1 in 3 is overweight
More than a third of children are overweight. This in itself is concerning, but it also leads to the rise of chronic illness in children as it contributes to many other problems. Overweight and obese kids are more likely to suffer from:
Type 2 diabetes;
High blood pressure;
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol);
Osteoarthritis (a health problem causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints);
Some types of cancer: breast, colon, endometrial (related to the uterine lining), and kidney, and
1 in 6 has learning disabilities
It’s true, developmental disabilities are on the rise. That means the average elementary school class will have more than 3 students with a learning disability such as ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. There are a lot of theories as to what’s causing these learning disabilities, many are believed to be environmental. How high do these statistics need to go before a change is made?
1 in 9 has asthma
Now as a common as 1 in 9, asthma is one of the more prevalent conditions plaguing our children. Asthma can be caused by a number of things, including pollution, household cleaners, and tobacco smoke. Did you know that nearly all of those with asthma also suffer from allergies? Food allergies is also one of the rising ailments on this list.
1 in 10 has ADHD
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is now prevalent in 10% of children. Although ADHD can greatly affect a child’s ability to learn, this disorder stays with them into adulthood. Those with ADHD have difficulty focusing, controlling behavior, and can interfere with learning and daily life.
1 in 13 has food allergies
This item on the list is may be one of the few that you were actually aware is on the rise. Food allergies aren’t just a few kids who can’t have PB&J anymore, it’s a growing issue, and a serious one; one that can result in death. The eight most common allergens are:
Nuts from trees (including hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts);
Shellfish (including shrimps, mussels, and crab);
(via Medical News Today)
With so much food causing severe reactions in our children, maybe it’s time to ask why?
1 in 20 has seizures
Seizures are when the body’s cells send out too many electrical charges, thus overwhelming the brain. They can come in many different forms that vary from strange behavior to a complete loss of consciousness. There is no one cause of seizures, but essentially anything that affects the body can disrupt the brain.
1 in 42 males has autism/1 in 68 has autism
We touched on Autism Spectrum Disorder earlier when discussing learning disabilities, but ASD certainly secured a spot of its own on the list. It’s risen steadily over the past decade and a half. Back in 2000 Autism occurred in 1 out of every 166 children, now it’s 1 in 68. Autism occurs much more often in males, 1 in 42, to be specific. It’s time we ask what’s happening with the rise in autism?
What Are We Waiting For?
Just like with technology, change seems to happen slowly until you look back and see the glaring differences. It starts to be accepted as the new normal, but the deterioration of our children’s health and the rise of chronic illness in children is not normal. About 43% of those under the age of 18 suffer from at least one chronic condition. 54% of all children have chronic illness or are overweight.
That’s more than 1 in 2. What are we waiting for, the rise of chronic illness in children to become 1 in 1?