Harlem adult residents say they suffer more from oral health problems than other medical complaints, such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University's School of Dental and Oral Surgery and Mailman School of Public Health
The study, led by Georgina Zabos, DDS, MPH, assistant professor of clinical dentistry and health policy and management, found that 30 percent of the 695 Harlem residents surveyed indicate they suffer from problems with their teeth and gums - the No. 1 complaint among 50 common health conditions listed in the questionnaire. The results are published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
"The results of this study are surprising, given that adults in Harlem suffer from higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and HIV/AIDS," says Dr. Zabos. "Very little is known about the prevalence or impact of oral diseases in the population. Clearly, further study is warranted."
The Harlem Health Promotion Center, a joint project of Harlem Hospital Center, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted the Harlem Household Survey between 1992 and 1994 to better understand and address the health problems of adult residents of Harlem.
Trained community residents interviewed 695 adults between the ages of 18 and 65 using a structured questionnaire. Participants indicated if they had experienced any of 50 common symptoms or health conditions on the list in the past 12 months. For each condition identified, participants were asked if they had obtained medical treatment.
More respondents reported oral health problems than other health concerns. Twenty seven percent cited hypertension as a complaint during the study time period. Diabetes ranked lowest with 7 percent indicating the disorder as a problem. It is important to note that while diabetes and hypertension ranked lower than oral h
Contact: Annie Bayne
Columbia University Medical Center