Home » Posts » Advisory Board Articles » Top Five Childhood Diseases on the Rise

Recent studies confirm our clinical experience: 43% of children in the United States have a chronic illness, a percentage that rises to 52% when obesity is included as a disease.[1]

Here we list some of the childhood diseases on the rise. We cannot conclude that any of them are related to GE food, though there is biological plausibility for a link.

Many of these diseases have several causes, some of which trigger the progression toward disease, while others promote or accelerate the onset of symptoms. For some risk factors, there can be a delay of several years between exposure and disease. Some health problems are rooted in epigenetic changes that can be heritable, impacting generation after generation.

No stone should be left unturned in seeking better understanding of the factors leading to the worsening state of children’s health. Only with such understanding can we assure that the pesticides and novel proteins in GMO foods are not one of the factors behind the rise in the top childhood diseases:

 

  1. Food Allergies[2] 
While it is possible that parents are increasingly attuned to food allergies, it turns out that hospitalizations for severe food allergies is the main diagnosis that has increased substantially over the last two decades.
  2. Type 1 Diabetes[3] 
The rate of this disease has been rising in recent decades, both in the US and in Europe. Contrary to other diseases, the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes is simple, making it easy to correctly diagnose. The disease, if left untreated, is fatal–it is hard to miss or over-diagnose.
  3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease[4] 
Severe bowel disease has been increasing in children, most notably since 1990. Two autoimmune diseases, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, appear to be on the rise in children.
  4. Neurodevelopmental Illness[5] 
The rates of ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and neurodevelopmental disability have been increasing, as has our ability to detect these problems and identify possible risk factors. Exposure to certain pesticides during pregnancy is among known risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders, including lower IQ and impaired motor skills.
  5. Celiac Disease[6] 
This is another autoimmune disease that has increased in children. Some of the rise in frequency may be explained by progress in diagnosis of this disease. However, in a study that examined blood banked since 1974, it was found that the presence of antibodies characteristic of celiac disease has, in fact, been doubling every 15 years since that time. This trend began before the introduction of GE food, and has continued since. As mentioned above, GE foods, if implicated, may be one of the underlying causes, but surely is not the only cause.

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REFERENCES

  1. Bethell CD, Kogan MD, Strickland BB, Schor EL, Robertson J, Newacheck PW. A national and state profile of leading health problems and health care quality for US children: key insurance disparities and across-state variations. Acad Pediatr. 2011 May-Jun;11(3 Suppl):S22-33
  2. Lin RY, Anderson AS, Shah SN, Nurruzzaman F. Increasing anaphylaxis hospitalizations in the first 2 decades of life: New York State, 1990 -2006. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Oct;101(4):387-93
  3. Lipman TH, Levitt Katz LE, Ratcliffe SJ, Murphy KM, Aguilar A, Rezvani I, Howe CJ, Fadia S, Suarez E. Increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes in youth: twenty years of the Philadelphia Pediatric Diabetes Registry. Diabetes Care. 2013 Jun;36(6):1597-603
  4. Malaty HM, Fan X, Opekun AR, Thibodeaux C, Ferry GD.Rising incidence of inflammatory bowel disease among children: a 12-year study. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Jan;50(1):27-31
  5. Halfon N, Houtrow A, Larson K, Newacheck PW. The changing landscape of disability in childhood. Future Child. 2012 Spring; 22(1):13-42
  6. Tack GJ, Wieke H, Verbeek M, Schreurs W, Mulder CJJ. The Spectrum of Celiac Disease: Epidemiology, Clinical Aspects and Treatment. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology 7, 204 (2010)
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