Over at the NYT’s “Well” blog, Tara Parker-Pope shares a new study on fat kids that has “surprising” findings: they get fewer cavities than normal weight kids!
Raise your hand if you’re as surprised as she is.
No? Me neither.
I mean, actually, I’m a little surprised that the results weren’t just even. (Are thin people not teaching their kids to brush and floss, or what?) But see, I don’t assume fat kids get fat by eating tons of sugary shit, nor do I assume that fat kids are lazy and thus might have lackluster oral hygiene. And if you don’t assume either of those things, then it’s really not surprising that their teeth aren’t rotting out of their fat little heads. Go figure!
The findings don’t mean being overweight protects teeth, but they do raise questions about the differences in foods eaten by overweight children compared to their normal weight peers. It also debunks the stereotype of the overweight child who binges on cavity-causing candy and sugary foods.
Ding ding ding! By jove, I think she’s got it!
One theory is that overweight children may actually be eating fewer cavity-causing sweets than normal weight kids and instead overeating fatty foods.
Yes, I suppose that’s one theory. Also, maybe fat children are taught to brush after every meal, and since they eat 9 meals a day, that explains it. Or maybe they all floss while sitting in front of the TV, when the thin kids are outside playing. Or maybe the candy, donuts, and pop fat kids all consume in massive quantities don’t cause cavities after all, and further research is needed! I mean, IT COULD BE ANYTHING.
On the upside, one of the researchers admits in no uncertain terms that their hypothesis was wrong, and they’ve got some head-scratchin’ to do now:
“We expected to find more oral disease in overweight children of all ages, given the similar causal factors that are generally associated with obesity and caries,” said Eastman Dental Center’s Dr. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, the lead author. “Our findings raise more questions than answers. Research to analyze both diet and lifestyle is needed to better understand the results.”
Our findings raise more questions than answers. Man, that’s music to my ears. If a lot more obesity researchers would just admit that much, I would be happy as a fat pig in shit.
(H/T Shapeling Ailea)