Childhood obesity poses yet another health threat: increased risk of serious ear infections. A new study looking at health data for nearly 300 hospitalized Korean children found that those suffering from severe middle ear infection were over a third more likely to be obese than those admitted for other causes.
Not only do obese children have a 70% risk of staying obese as an adult, earaches may be a contributing factor: A University of Florida study found that adults who suffered frequent ear infections as kids were 62% more likely to end up obese. Scientists speculate that ear infections could damage nerves linked to “taste” sensors, fueling cravings for sweet and fatty fare.
Unfortunately, almost 70% of parents with an obese child underestimate their child’s weight — even when the child shows signs of incipient type 2 diabetes. Parental unconcern about their children’s weight invites a host of other obesity related ailments, such as joint disorders, breathing constriction and emotional difficulties. Protect your child from such risks by limiting television time, eating dinner as a family, putting fruit and veggies on the table, and cultivating a healthy approach to holiday celebrations.
Published September 1, 2008