In the last issue of the Health Science News Page we described the causes and effects of diabetes in children. Typically, type 1 diabetes affects children. However, due to poor diet and increasing obesity, type 2 diabetes is becoming common in children. While insulin and metformin are the FDA approved drugs for diabetic children, many other drugs are also used that are not tested in the younger population and, other safer avenues of addressing diabetic-related health issues are not emphasized enough.
Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases worldwide. It is no longer a disease of the ageing population in developed countries. Diabetes or pre-diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in the younger population everywhere and most markedly in developing countries. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions worldwide and this disease is at the forefront of public health challenges the world faces this century. The number of people around the world living with diabetes has skyrocketed in the last few decades and 422 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2014.
Although a balanced diet is one of the best ways to obtain nourishment for everyone, the majority of children are not getting enough micronutrients from the food they eat. Too few fresh fruits and vegetables and consumption of highly processed food results in chronic deficiency of essential micronutrients in children impairing their growth and health and making them prone to diseases. Malnutrition in children is a problem not only in developing countries. In their quest for massive food production, the developed countries have indiscriminately used pesticides and chemical fertilizers and other poor farming practices which has led to severe depletion of nutrients in the soil. In addition, micronutrient deficiencies are widespread due to the global promotion of highly processed food. A study published in 2004 in the Journal of American College of Nutrition confirms a significant decline in the nutritive value of food produced in the last 50 years.
Sarcomas are cancers of connective tissue such as hard tissue (bones), soft tissue (muscles) and tendons. Although sarcomas are uncommon at any age, they are relatively frequent in children. Every year in the USA approximately 1500-1700 children and young people under the age of 20 are diagnosed with bone and soft tissue sarcomas. Sarcomas are one of the most life-threatening cancers in children, and survival ranges from 59%-68% depending on factors such as age, other risks (i.e., tumor location, gender, environment, genetics), prescription medications and other drugs, etc.