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Childhood Cavities A Sign of Obesity

In a complete reversal from past findings, rampant tooth decay in children may be yet another signal of the epidemic of childhood obesity. That's probably a bit surprising to those on the conventional side of medicine, since studies conducted a decade ago pinpointed tooth decay as a sign of being underweight and a failure to thrive.

Researchers compared the health records of 170 children in 2000 and almost 250 in 2005 with some 80 kids who were cavity-free. No more than 8 percent of the children with cavities who were examined for the study were also underweight.

In contrast, the percentages shot into the double digits when obesity and tooth decay were linked. More than twice as many kids with cavities (16.5 percent) were at risk of becoming overweight and 11 percent of them were already that way in 2000. The number of overweight children swelled to nearly 16 percent in 2005, versus nearly 11 percent of those at risk.

Not surprising at all to me and many of you, I suspect. Researchers might've figured it out too, had they bothered to consider one obvious variable: Carbonated and fruit-flavored soft drinks, the number one source of calories in America.

EurekAlert March 21, 2006

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