More Things to Worry About


Childhood Obesity News has discussed some of the things that can go wrong medically, when kids are overweight. There can be bone problems and dental problems, as we mentioned last time. As it turns out, there are even more obesity possibilities in the realm of teeth. Jean Savedge brings the unwelcome news that small children are having root canals done. She writes:

Childhood obesity isn’t the only new dilemma to stem from the modern child’s diet of soft drinks and sugary snacks. A new survey has found that cavities are on the rise among kids of all ages, particularly the preschooler set.

Kids who haven’t even started kindergarten are showing up with half a dozen cavities. And before long, some of those kids will find it difficult to fit their bulk into the dentist’s chair. There is a definite correlation between fat kids, kids with decaying teeth, and kids who drink a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages and eat a lot of snacks.

Now, thanks to diligent researchers and alert news media, there are even more atrocities to worry about than ever before. And thanks, also, of course, to the Perfect Storm of conditions that brought about the childhood obesity epidemic in the first place. Plus, they keep discovering new facets of issues we were already worried about, like sleep apnea. Research revisits old findings and either confirms or updates the information. Other research finds new connections.

The common cold, for instance. Research from Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego adds to what was already known about an association between viral infections and obesity. The relationship is nowhere near to being clear yet, but the potential exists for developing a vaccine based on one strain of the common cold that could help prevent obesity at the same time. It’s a long way off, but senior study author Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer is optimistic, according to reporter Alex Heigl, who writes:

New research shows that children who were infected by adenovirus 36, which causes the common cold and slight gastrointestinal upset, were an average of 50 pounds heavier than children who hadn’t been infected by this particular strain.

It has been known that a relationship exists between childhood obesity and asthma. Obese asthmatics have more flare-ups and account for a slightly disproportionate number of emergency room visits. Aspects of the link are unclear and contradictory, we learn from Christian Nordqvist, who writes for Medical News Today. Nordqvist gives a heads-up about a class of drugs used to treat children’s asthma, the use of which needs to be carefully moderated because of the numerous side effects:

Inhaled steroids, such as Flovent or Pulmicort, the mainstays of treatment to control airway inflammation on a daily basis among patients with asthma, were used more often by the heaver children, compared to those of normal-weight.

Part of the problem here is that obese children, just like adults, respond to steroids less successfully than people of normal weight. And, steroids cause people to plump up. It’s another one of those vicious circles. And, not long ago, a study was published that related psoriasis to childhood obesity and other serious conditions.

Jasmine Woods interviewed a Kaiser Permanente research scientist, Corinna Koebnick, who is quoted as saying:

This study suggests a link between obesity and psoriasis in children. But our study findings also suggest that the higher heart disease risk for patients with psoriasis starts in childhood in the form of higher cholesterol levels. We may need to monitor youth with psoriasis more closely for cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they are obese.

Obesity may also have sociological repercussions, says Patricia Cohen, reporting on research done at Morehouse College:

Looking at records from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, they have found evidence that shorter men are 20 to 30 percent more likely to end up in prison than their taller counterparts, and that obesity and physical attractiveness are linked to crime.

It is bad news indeed that obesity seems to correlate somewhat with criminality, or at least with a tendency to get caught.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Study finds ‘huge increase’ in preschooler cavities,”, 03/12/12
Source: “Childhood Obesity Linked to Strain of Common Cold,”, 07/13/11
Source: “Obese Children With Asthma Need More Medication Than Kids Of Normal Weight,”, 09/03/11
Source: “Childhood Obesity Increases Psoriasis Risk,”, 06/25/11
Source: “For Crime, Is Anatomy Destiny?,”, 05/10/10
Image by SuperFantastic (Bruce), used under its Creative Commons license.


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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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