Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media

Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Obesity Issues Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Jul 7, 2016 - 5:36:25 PM

Dentists Help in Fight Against Obesity

By Staff Editor
Sep 3, 2014 - 7:14:20 AM

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

( - New Haven, Conn.-The fight against obesity in the United States may have some unexpected allies-dentists. New research by the Yale School of Public Health has found that counties with a higher number of dentists per capita have strikingly lower rates of obesity than their peers, even within the same state.

The study, published in the Sept. 1 Journal of the American Dental Association, analyzed data from 2,841 counties across the United States. Among the factors considered were the percentage of obese adults - those with a body mass index of 30 or greater - and the number of primary care physicians and dentists per 10,000 people.

Researchers found that when comparing counties with the same population size, the counties that had an additional dentist for every 10,000 people had a 1-percentage point lower rate of obesity than the counties without as many dentists.

Lead author Jessica Holzer, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Yale, said that while the relationship between dentists and obesity is still not fully understood, it might be associated with additional resources in a county, or better general health behaviors among all or a portion of county residents. Alternatively, where dentists take an active role in discussing obesity with their patients, there could be positive impacts on healthy behaviors around obesity prevention.

"Dentists are concerned with the types of food people, especially children, are eating, including foods implicated in obesity such as sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, sweetened juices) and high-sugar foods, and their advice may help identify and interrupt obesity-producing behaviors in their patients," said Holzer.

Obesity is an extreme health problem in the United States, affecting more than 30% of the population and contributing to more than $150 billion per year in health care costs and lost productivity. Both its prevalence and related costs are expected to increase in the coming decade.

The research finding, believed to be the first of its kind, suggests that dentists should be more fully included in understanding how an area's healthcare landscape affects obesity, Holzer said. It also raises the possibility that further research will uncover significant opportunities for dentists to take a more active role in obesity prevention.

Holzer said she and colleagues are planning an analysis of individual-level data to better determine the relationship between obesity and dentistry.

The paper was co-authored by Maureen Caravan, an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health and Professor Elizabeth H. Bradley.

Citation: JADA 145(9): 932-939; doi:10.14219/jada.2014.48

For ad/promo rates, call Mike McCurdy at 877-634-9180 or email at [email protected]  We have over 7,000 journalists who are subscribers.

Top of Page

Obesity Issues
Latest Headlines

+ Fat Rats Show Why Breast Cancer May Be More Aggressive in Patients with Obesity
+ Obese Heart Surgery Patients Require Significantly More ICU Resources
+ Loneliness and Social Isolation May Be Greater Public Health Threat Than Obesity
+ Dulled Taste May Prompt More Calories on Path to Obesity
+ New Path Toward Preventing Obesity
+ Scientists Propose Novel Therapy to Lessen Risk of Obesity-Linked Disease
+ Young Adult Obesity: A Neglected, Yet Essential Focus to Reverse the Obesity Epidemic
+ Do Breathing Issues Hamper Exercise in Overweight Preteens?
+ Babies Born Big More Likely to Become Obese Children
+ Childhood Obesity Historically High in Low Income Communities

Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions