There is something wrong with this picture. A full one in four of American kids takes meds. From the story:
These days, the medicine cabinet is truly a family affair. More than a quarter of U.S. kids and teens are taking a medication on a chronic basis, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc., the biggest U.S. pharmacy-benefit manager with around 65 million members. Nearly 7% are on two or more such drugs, based on the company’s database figures for 2009. Doctors and parents warn that prescribing medications to children can be problematic. There is limited research available about many drugs’ effects in kids. And health-care providers and families need to be vigilant to assess the medicines’ impact, both intended and not. Although the effects of some medications, like cholesterol-lowering statins, have been extensively researched in adults, the consequences of using such drugs for the bulk of a patient’s lifespan are little understood.
And note, this doesn’t include prescriptions for acute conditions, such as a bacterial infection.
Either kids are sicker than when I was young, there are more conditions that can now be treated with prescriptions, or doctors are over medicating (Ritalin anyone?). Perhaps it is all of the above. But as I said, there is something definitely wrong with this picture.