Study to examine link between obesity and oral health

Rodney Haring, PhD, LMSW, a research assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Arizona (UA) College of Medicine, has received a $75,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the best ways to prevent obesity and promote good oral hygiene in Native American youth.

Haring will conduct a two-year meta-analysis on the links between obesity and poor oral health. Both are related to poor nutrition and, in Native American youth, poor nutrition and obesity often lead to diabetes.

The project will review research from 1985 through 2010 to determine the best practices for promoting oral health and preventing obesity. Haring expects his findings to have far-reaching implications for Native American communities across North America, he noted in a university press release.

Haring is a member of the UA Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC), an outreach program of the UA department of family and community medicine. Established in 1983, it serves as a national resource for Native American communities and for persons working with Native American populations, with a focus on health promotion.

Haring is one of two NARTC research faculty members who are based outside of the UA. A member of the Seneca Nation, he lives on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation near Buffalo, NY, where he is a social worker and researcher.

Copyright © 2010

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