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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2010, Article ID 614814, 6 pages
Research Article

Interactions of Overweight, Poor Oral Health, and Stress Related to Chronic Disease in an Aging Population

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

Received 26 June 2010; Revised 9 September 2010; Accepted 24 October 2010

Academic Editor: Dennis Daniel Taub

Copyright © 2010 Julia W. Albright. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.