More young Americans taking diabetes drugs

Young people are taking more diabetes drugsA growing number of young Americans are being treated for type 2 diabetes, with obesity suspected as a leading culprit.

According to a study appearing in the journal Pediatrics, young people more than doubled their use of diabetes medications between 2002 and 2005, with girls aged 10-14 leading with a 166 percent increase.

The study was conducted by the St. Louis University School of Medicine, the Kansas Health Institute, and Express Scripts.

“Our findings show that childhood obesity not only has long-term health implications, but also impacts children’s immediate health,” said Dr. Donna Halloran, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University.

Young people are being prescribed more medication for other chronic conditions as well. There was an increase in antidepressant use among girls aged 15-19, while use among younger boys and girls declined. Girls also accounted for much of the increase in diabetes medication.

The number of young people receiving asthma medication was up 46.5 percent. ADD medication was up by 40.4 percent, and cholesterol medication was up 15.1 percent.

Still, Halloran suggests this is also sign that “doctors are doing a better job of screening children and diagnosing chronic conditions.”