Friday, May 25, 2007

Girls & Boys...

One of the conditions that give insurance underwriters much trouble is diabetes. This is due, in part, to the "elastic" nature of the condition: adult vs juvenile onset, insulin vs diet control, "stick" vs oral, and now (apparently), boy vs girl:
[Graphic courtesy of Employee Benefit News]
According to Medco Health, "(n)ew research suggests that adolescent girls may be at increasing risk for several physical and psychological health problems." They seem to have found a a link between diabetes meds and sleeping aids, antipsychotics, and treatment for ADD/ADHD. This "linkage" is much more pronounced in young ladies than gentlemen.
One phenomenon which may be driving this disparity is the finding that so many young women are taking anti-psychotic meds: over the past 5 years, the number of girls 10-19 years old who are on these meds has grown by almost 120%, while young mens' usage has gone up just over 70%. That's a pretty wide gulf. Also disturbing is the use of sleeping aids; 80% more young girls use them now than just 5 years ago. I'd sure like to know why; seems to me that adolescence has always been a pretty stressful time, perhaps especially for girls. Couple that with the growing number of that demographic who are now on ADD/ADHD meds (up almost 75% for the girls), and it's not a recipe for positive long term results. Granted, more boys are on these meds than girls, but the gap is apparently shrinking.
One bright spot: "The slowing of growth in pediatric utilization of ADHD drugs, antipsychotics, and sleep medications from 2005 to 2006 may be a reflection of the concerns raised by reports such as (this)."
Gee, I would hope so!


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