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Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res. 2010;2010:614814. doi: 10.1155/2010/614814. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Interactions of overweight, poor oral health, and stress related to chronic disease in an aging population.

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Division of Health Programs, International Relief & Development, Inc., 1621 North Kent Street, Arlington, VA 22209, USA.


The prevalence of excess body mass (XBM), poor oral health (POH), and stress in a secluded population of aged (≥60 years) Hmong immigrants was surveyed. The findings were related to the prevalence of diabetes in the same population. Diabetes was associated separately with POH (OR 2.4; CL 1.3, 4.2) or with XBM (OR 2.5; CL 1.4, 4.8). The association of diabetes with the combination of XBM and POH was striking (OR 5.1; CL 3.4, 7.5); that apparent synergism has not been fully appreciated. We describe a mechanism that explains the synergism. The concept of "thrifty genotype" is a plausible explanation of XBM in the elderly Hmong immigrants and possibly the current older Laotian population. POH is common among elderly Laotians as it is in most developing countries. We conclude that synergism of XBM and POH significantly elevates the prevalence of diabetes among aging populations and probably other age groups as well.

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