-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Among homeless children,
obesity is associated with an increased risk of cavities, a new
The findings provide further evidence of the link between the
two conditions in children living below the poverty level,
according to the researchers from Case Western Reserve University
and the University of Akron, in Ohio.
For the study, the investigators looked at 157 children, aged 2
to 17 years, who were living in an urban homeless shelter. Most of
the kids were from single-parent families headed by women, with one
or two siblings.
The children's obesity was calculated using body mass index
(BMI), a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. The
investigators included missing, filled or injured teeth in their
cavity count. As BMI increased with age, so did the number of
cavities, Marguerite DiMarco, an associate professor at the Frances
Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University,
and colleagues explained in a university news release.
The researchers said their findings support reports from the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that obesity and
poor oral health have doubled in the United States since 1980,
increasing the risk of health problems such as diabetes, as well as
Poor families have difficulty getting dental care, but poverty
also adds to dental health problems in other ways, such as making
it difficult to obtain nutritious food and a lack of refrigeration
to keep food fresh, DiMarco pointed out in the news release. Some
homes even lack running water, she added.
"There are no easy solutions, especially with the homeless population," DiMarco said.
The study was released online in advance of print publication in
Journal of Pediatric Health Care.
While the study found an association between obesity and poor
dental health in homeless kids, it did not prove a cause-and-effect
The Nemours Foundation explains how to
keep your child's teeth healthy.
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