Last week, we heard that doctors are being told to prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to kids as young as eight. Would you let this happen to your child? Has your doctor considered the causes of your kid's weight problem and how to manage them? What about off-label prescription risks? ANH reviews the madness and shows how kids are being used as guinea pigs.
In the mind of many doctors faced with an overweight kid in their clinic, the view of the American Academy of Pediatrics is going to be influential in determining their treatment protocol. On 7 July, the Academy published guidelines that told doctors it was a good idea to prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins to kids as young as eight, because there was more evidence showing that our journey towards heart disease starts at a tenderer age than was previously thought.
While this advice may be causing a bit of a furore in some medical circles, are we really going to see the American Academy of Pediatrics changing its position? Unlikely, we would say.
UK medical writer Jerome Burne expressed the concerns of a number of leading UK medics clearly in the Daily Mail. Further concerns have been expressed in the USA.
Here are the ANH's 10 key concerns:
Kids require a lot more cholesterol than adults for brain development, so could cholesterol lowering drugs provide another, unknown source of risk?
Is cholesterol really a major risk factor in heart disease? Is cholesterol-lowering going to have much impact on obesity in the first place? There and more and more evidence to show that cholesterol is neither strongly correlated with obesity or heart disease. Even so-called 'bad' LDL cholesterol serves beneficial functions in the body. Check out Mike Adam's layperson's account on this at Natural News.
Many scientists and doctors suggest that apolipoproteins, particularly the apo B:apo A-I ratio, may be a much more accurate risk factor than total cholesterol or even cholesterol ratios. See Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine (2008) 5, 18-19, for a recent discussion of the relevance of apolipoprotein ratios as a measure of risk.
Most drugs have been tested on adults not kids, so their safety to kids is not known
We know nothing about the effects of staying on a drug regimen for, say, 50 or more years
If you put a child on statins, will he or she really adjust other lifestyle factors such as fruit and vegetable intake and exercise—or will the child—or his parents— think he can do as he pleases because he's taking a drug?!
How much training has your doctor had on dietary manipulation to help reduce heart disease risk? In the vast majority of cases, the answer would be precious little.
Has your doctor been trained in delivering fitness and exercise regimens for children—or even adults—who are obese and might be at high risk of suffering a heart attack, asthma attack or other serious problem?
Popping a pill—or a statin capsule—might work wonders for the bank balances of the pharmaceutical manufacturer and its supply chain, but it raises some very serious concerns about the long-term risks. We see it as a classic example of unsustainable, orthodox, short-sighted healthcare at work. Have a look at our White Paper on sustainable healthcare, and get behind the move to transition towards biologically-compatible approaches based on natural foods, natural products and lifestyle-based approaches to healthcare.
Looking again at the situation with regard to kids—it's extremely worrying to say the least. There are generally absolutely no relevant data for off-label use on children. Are we prepared to let our kids be used as guinea pigs, just to deepen the cash reserves of Big Pharma?
Let's look after our kids properly
This is an absurd situation, in our view, and, most likely, in the view of anyone who recognises the role of diet, nutrition and exercise in heart disease and other complex diseases. Like the World health Organization, for example? Check out the WHO's Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. It was developed because of the recognition that diet and physical activity are two of the most important factors contributing to the biggest burden on healthcare systems around the world, from the Big 5 chronic diseases, namely heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Big Pharma clearly sees these diseases as its biggest market—but more and more people are waking up to the fact that most drugs are not only comparatively ineffective—they can also be downright dangerous!
So— will you let your kids be prescribed statins or off-label drugs?
Or will you use food, exercise and common sense in place of drugs?