New morbidities: new challenges.


Wright RO. New morbidities: new challenges. Current Opinion in Pediatrics 2009;21(2):220-221.


In the 20th century, medicine and the public health programs of developed nations largely conquered the major causes of childhood morbidity and mortality–infections and poor nutrition. In the 21st century, graduating from childhood to adulthood is no longer a risky venture in Western civilization. In place of these old public health problems are a new set of diseases rapidly rising in prevalence, the so-called ‘New Morbidities’ of asthma, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders among others. Researchers refer to such diseases as ‘complex diseases’ because, unlike infections or Mendelian genetic diseases, they do not appear to have a single major root cause, such as genetic mutations or infectious agents.