Over 25% of children under 20 have long-term prescriptions

More than a quarter of kids and teenagers take prescription medications on a chronic basis–and nearly 7 percent are on two or more such drugs, Anna Wilde Mathews reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Many of the medications are prescribed to treat conditions that are well known to be increasingly prevalent in children, including asthma and ADHD. But others are generally considered to be mainly for adults, such as statins, diabetes pills and sleep drugs. More than 5 million children take prescription drugs to treat hypertension.

Researchers say one reason for the growth in prescriptions for children is unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. They warn that many medications proven safe for adults haven’t been tested for children, and can have unexpected side effects.