Kids, Chronic Disease and Monitoring

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ScienceDaily recently reported on statistical trends from a Dutch study that showed how two out of three severely obese children already had at least one risk factor for heart disease including high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels or high cholesterol.

This pediatric study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, reinforces the global trend of increasing cases of diabetes and obesity that is putting children on a path for lifelong chronic problems.

In light of these unnerving trends it is imperative to monitor one’s health from an early age in order to establish baselines for individual health. The fact that we have become an increasingly mobile society suggests that individuals need to take ownership of this task and the key is to make it easy.

The World Health Organization is a big advocate of systems that offer patients a way to monitor their health since routine consultations place such a high burden on health services that are already economically strained. In a 2009 Eurohealth report, they state that information technology now allows routine health data to be collected outside a doctor’s office. And while all this technology can be very attractive, financial incentives for physicians have to be high enough in order for health providers to change their behaviors.

The importance of technology’s role in medicine cannot be overemphasized since positive outcomes regarding the quality of chronic care have already been identified in England even though pay-for-performance policies are still under debate in the US.

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