Drugs for Bad Behavior Cause Alarming Weight Gain in Kids, ‘Terrifying Study’ Finds

In what was dubbed a “terrifying study,” researchers found that antipsychotics used “off-label” in children as young as 2 years old are causing severe weight gains in the children who take them. Some teenagers on these drugs gain as much as 50 pounds, National Post reports. The drugs are used as a form of “social control” — and while some uses may be justified, it still sets them up for a future of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, critics say.

The number of children under age 5 who are obese or overweight worldwide is an “exploding nightmare,” according to the World Health Organization. And while some suggest bigger bodies are just part of everyday evolution, the truth cannot be denied: Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 U.S. deaths is associated with obesity — and sadly, obesity is no longer relegated to adults.

The diagnosis of mental illness in children is far from an exact science. So, weight gain aside, it’s interesting that educated people are finally questioning the need for children to be medicated. As the featured article mentioned, poor children and those in foster care are most often drugged. The question is are children being medicated for convenience, or need?

Psychotropic agents can influence a child's brain development, and chronic drug exposure during sensitive periods can produce alterations of his or her nervous system that have unpredictable and potentially harmful effects. Yet, more and more children are being prescribed these drugs, with foster children getting them at 12 times the rate of other children.

Behavioral problems clearly do exist, and do appear to be more prevalent among children today than in decades past. But what's causing them? There are many contending culprits, including poor nutrition and environmental toxins ranging from food and vaccine additives to agricultural chemicals. Addressing gut health and avoiding processed, refined foods that may contain residuals of growth hormones and other additives is also important for a healthy mind and body, as well as reducing sugar in their diets. Exercise and just being outdoors can also help.

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