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One in Two Children Has Chronic Health Issues
Date:2/16/2010

But study also found most conditions, such as obesity, asthma and ADHD, did not persist

TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- One in every two U.S. children now grapples at some time with a chronic health condition, such as asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity, new research suggests.

The good news is that for many of those children, their chronic childhood illness won't persist. Just over 7 percent of those who reported a chronic condition at the beginning of the study still had the condition six years later.

"Over time, we found the rates of chronic conditions and obesity in U.S. children increased, but quite a few of these conditions resolved on their own," said study author Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave, a pediatrician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston.

The findings are published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A chronic health condition is one that lasts at least 12 months, according to the study. Some of the conditions included asthma, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, heart problems, allergic conditions, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, sinus infections, ear infections and more. Obesity was defined as a body-mass index in the 95th percentile or higher for the child's gender and age.

The researchers conducted the study using three different groups of children. The first cohort, which included 2,337 children, was interviewed during 1988 to 1994; the second, which included 1,759 children, was interviewed during 1994 to 2000 and the final group, which included 905 children, was interviewed from 2000 to 2006.

At the beginning of each period, the children were between the ages of 2 and 8; chronic conditions were confirmed by reports from parents.

At the end of each study, the prevalence of chronic illness or obesity was 12.8 percent in the first (earliest) group,
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