Friday, April 24, 2009

Childhood Epidemics?

There has been an increase in the number of children with Autism, ADHD, Ashtma, and Allergies.

"Autism has increased, according to most estimates, from approximately one in every 2,500 to 10, 000 births to one in every 150-166 births, over just the past twenty years. This is a fiteen-fold to sixty-fold increase: 1,500 percent to 6,000 percent. Now at least a half-million American children have autism-spectrum disorders, and some experts believe it to be as high as 1.5 million."

"ADHD has increased by at least 400 percent over the same twenty years. Now, 3.5 million children suffer from it. The very worst symptoms of ADHD are similar to those of children on the autism spectrum."

"Asthma has increased by 300 percent over the same time period, and asthma deaths have increased by 56 percent, despite improvements in acute crisis care. Now 6 million American kids have asthma."

"Allergies have increaed by 400 percent over this period. Now approximately 20 percent of all kids have some type of allergy. Peanut allergy, one of the most common fatal food allergies, has more than doubled since 1997. Two hundred people, many of them children, now die from food allergies every year."

- quotes taken from "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics" by Kenneth Bock, M.D. and Cameron Stauth

Are they really epidemics? What is an epidemic?

ep-i-dem-ic - (taken from unabridged - based on Random House Dictionary)
- adjective
1. affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.
2. extremely prevalent; widespread.
3. a temporary prevalence of a disease.
4. a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something: an epidemic of riots.

Wikipedia defines an epidemic as:
In epidemiology, an epidemic (from Greek epi- upon + demos people) occurs when new cases of a certain disease occur in a given human population, during a given period, substantially exceed what is "expected," based on recent experience (the number of new cases in the population during a specified period of time is called the "incidence rate"). (An epizootic is the analogous circumstance within an animal population.) In recent usages, the disease is not required to be communicable.

So did the increase in numbers exceed what is "expected"?
Would an increase of 100% be "expected"? How about 50%? 10%? Who would say that any percentage of increase is acceptable or "expected"? But the bigger question is what are we going to do about it? How do we bring those numbers back down for future generations? What happens if the numbers continue to increase?

I highly recommend the book quoted above: "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics" by Kenneth Bock, M.D. and Cameron Stauth.

I am determined to help my children in any way that I can. I understand that there is no miracle cure or program that will completely eliminate these issues, but I do feel better equipped to help my children and do my part to make a difference in their lives.

1 comment:

tiffrutherf said...

Man those statistics are scary aren't they? Remarkable!