Otitis media and associations with overweight status in toddlers

H. M. Nelson, K. A. Daly, C. S. Davey, J. H. Himes, D. J. Synder, L. M. Bartoshuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Otitis media (OM) is a significant disease that affects nearly all children early in life. Recently, childhood overweight has become an epidemic. Past research has demonstrated that a history of OM is related to food preferences and overweight through proposed physiological mechanisms. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between recurrent OM (ROM)/tympanostomy tube treatment and overweight status. Methods: Data were analyzed from a prospective cohort of mothers and children recruited from 1991-1996 from a local health maintenance organization. ROM and tympanostomy tube status were obtained through a combination of physical exam and medical record abstraction. ROM and tympanostomy tube status were analyzed as categorical variables with weight-for-length (WFL) data from well child checks. Chi-square and logistic regression for univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Results: 11.4% of children had a WFL measure at two years of age ≥ 95th percentile. Those children with a history of tympanostomy tube treatment had a significantly increased risk of having a WFL ≥ 95th percentile after controlling for birth weight, maternal prenatal smoking, maternal education, and family income (OR 3.32, 95% CI 1.43-7.72). The alternative hypothesis that children with larger WFL at two month of age would have a greater number of OM episodes by two years of age was not significant. Conclusion: The findings of this study are consistent with the hypothesis and prior research that OM treated with tympanostomy tubes is associated with overweight status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 28 2011


  • Otitis media
  • Overweight
  • Taste

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