Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chronic Ear Infections Linked To Increased Obesity Risk; Taste Damage Can Lead To Preferences For Fatty And Sugary Foods

Date:
August 15, 2008
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Ear infections are a painful rite of passage for many children. New research suggests the damage caused by chronic ear infections could be linked to people's preference for fatty foods, which increases their risk of being overweight as they age.

Childhood ear infections may contribute to obesity later in life, researchers say.
Credit: National Institutes of Health

Ear infections are a painful rite of passage for many children. New research suggests the damage caused by chronic ear infections could be linked to people's preference for fatty foods, which increases their risk of being overweight as they age. Scientists from around the country presented their findings on this unexpected connection at the American Psychological Association's 116th Annual Convention August 21.

Related Articles


"Middle ear infection is a common childhood disease and obesity is a growing problem worldwide," said Linda Bartoshuk, PhD, of the University of Florida College of Dentistry. "Any potential association between these two public health issues is of considerable interest." Bartoshuk presented some preliminary findings that a strong link between localized taste damage from chronic middle ear infections, or otitis media, and an increased preference for high-fat foods.

A series of studies address this issue. In one, 6,584 people who attended a lecture series responded to a series of health questions that determined their history of middle ear infections and their body mass index (BMI). The participants, mostly academics, were between 16 and 92 years old. The findings showed that those with a moderate to severe history of otitis media were 62 percent more likely to be obese. Bartoshuk noted that the overall rate of obesity in this sample was less than the general population.

John Hayes, PhD, of Brown University and his collaborators at the University of Connecticut, found associations between otitis media exposure, taste, food choice and obesity. Among middle-aged women, those with taste functioning consistent with taste nerve damage preferred sweet and high fat foods more and were more likely to have larger waists. In another study, they found preschoolers with a severe history of ear infections ate fewer vegetables and more sweets and tended to be heavier. "This suggests that taste damage from ear infections may alter food choice and thus lead to obesity risk." said Hayes.

Scientists are also looking at the possibility that damage to other taste nerves may also be associated with weight gain. Having the tonsils removed also appears to have an effect on whether a child will be overweight. Epidemiologist Howard Hoffman, MA, in a re-examination of the National Health Examination survey, which was conducted in the 1960s, found that 13,887 children ages 6 to 17 who had had their tonsils removed were at an increased risk for being overweight. The recent analysis showed younger children, ages 6 to 11, who had had tonsillectomies were 40 percent more likely to be overweight at the time of the survey.

Another finding was that teen girls who had had their tonsils removed were 30 percent more likely to be overweight. Hoffman said tonsillectomies were a common treatment for chronic ear infections during the period of this survey. "This data suggests that there are lingering effects of tonsillectomies on taste nerves and that can affect eating habits," said Hoffman.

Epidemiologist Kathleen Daly, PhD, of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, also spoke about recent findings that showed ear infections treated with tubes can also lead to higher BMIs in toddlers. "Obesity has doubled over the past 20 years among preschool children. The more data we collect on what contributes to this major public health problem, the greater likelihood that we can help prevent it," said Daly.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Chronic Ear Infections Linked To Increased Obesity Risk; Taste Damage Can Lead To Preferences For Fatty And Sugary Foods." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080814154321.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2008, August 15). Chronic Ear Infections Linked To Increased Obesity Risk; Taste Damage Can Lead To Preferences For Fatty And Sugary Foods. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080814154321.htm
American Psychological Association. "Chronic Ear Infections Linked To Increased Obesity Risk; Taste Damage Can Lead To Preferences For Fatty And Sugary Foods." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080814154321.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins