EVIDENCE OF AN EPIDEMIC

A massive health epidemic is sweeping through the industrialized world, and it is affecting today’s children most acutely. This unrecognized and under-reported tsunami of chronic pediatric illness, marked by inflammatory conditions such as autism, ADHD/ADD, mood disorders, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune conditions, among others, has reached a critical tipping point.

Some startling statistics:

  • The incidence of autism has risen over the last few decades from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 50 children. Autism costs the U.S. $126 billion per year.
  • Asthma affects 1 in 8 children, and as many as 1 in 6 African American

children. Asthma costs the U.S. $56 billion per year.

  • One in 3 American children is either overweight or obese.

Obesity-related medical costs account for $190 billion or 21% of medical spending in the United States; childhood obesity carries a price tag of $14 billion a year in  direct medical costs.

  • One in 30 children is diagnosed with pediatric depression. The U.S. spends $83 billion a year on depression.
  • One in 17 has a life-threatening food allergy. Food allergies cost the US over $25 billion per year.
  • An estimated 10% of American children have ADD/ADHD and 17% are labeled as “learning disabled.”

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ECONOMIC COSTS

Barrett B. Substantial lifelong cost of autism spectrum disorder. J Pediatr. 2014;165(5):1068-9.

Bernfort L, Nordfeldt S, Persson J. ADHD from a socio-economic perspective. Acta Paediatr. 2008;97(2):239-45.

Bipartisan Policy Center. Lots to lose how America’s health and obesity crisis threatens our economic future. Washington, D.C.: Bipartisan Policy Center,; 2012.

Bolin K, Cawley JH. The economics of obesity. 1st ed. Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier JAI; 2007. xxiii, 364 p. p.

Bouder JN, Spielman S, Mandell DS. Brief report: Quantifying the impact of autism coverage on private insurance premiums. J Autism Dev Disord. 2009;39(6):953-7.

Buescher AV, Cidav Z, Knapp M, Mandell DS. Costs of autism spectrum disorders in the United Kingdom and the United States. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(8):721-8.

Currie JM, Stabile M, National Bureau of Economic Research. Mental health in childhood and human capital. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; 2007. 31 p. p.

Dave D, Fernandez JM, National Bureau of Economic Research. The effect of an increase in autism prevalence on the demand for auxiliary healthcare workers: evidence from California. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; 2012. 37 p. p.

Dusetzina SB, Farley JF, Weinberger M, Gaynes BN, Sleath B, Hansen RA. Treatment use and costs among privately insured youths with diagnoses of bipolar disorder. Psychiatr Serv 2012;63(10):1019-25.

Fletcher J, National Bureau of Economic Research. The effects of childhood ADHD on adult labor market outcomes. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; 2013. 25 p. p.

Lahiri S, Simonson B, Lewin Group., Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The prevalence and cost of select chronic diseases. Falls Church, Va.: Lewin Group,; 2007.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Economic valuation of environmental health risks to children. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 2006. 310 p. P.

Telford C, Green C, Logan S, Langley K, Thapar A, Ford T. Estimating the costs of ongoing care for adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013;48(2):337-44.

Weiss KB, Buist AS, Sullivan SD. Asthma’s impact on society: the social and economic burden. New York: M. Dekker; 2000. xv, 390 p. p.