Kids are taking more of every kind of obesity-related chronic medication -- drugs taken regularly for a long time. But the growth in diabetes drugs dwarfs the growth in all other categories.
The findings come from data on prescription drug use among insured children served by St. Louis-based Express Scripts.
Emily R.Cox, PhD, RPh, senior director of research at Express Scripts and Sharon M. Homan, PhD, of St. Louis University presented the findings at this week's annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C.
Cox and colleagues find that from the beginning of 2002 to the end of 2005, the percentage of U.S. kids on diabetes drugs doubled from about 0.3 per 1,000 children to about 0.6 per 1,000 children.
Driving that increase was a 166% increase among girls aged 10-14 and a 135% increase among girls aged 15-19.
It's not clear why the jump was seen in tween and teen girls, as boys aged 6-11 and 12-19 have higher obesity rates and greater growth rates.
"The trends in obesity-related drug therapy are not consistent with recent trends in childhood obesity," Cox and colleagues note in their presentation abstract.