A series of studies has linked chronic ear infections (otitis media) to a higher risk of being overweight or obese later in life. The studies suggest that ear infections may damage nerves that control taste, creating a preference for fatty or sweet foods.
One study of more than 6,500 people ages 16 to 92 showed that those with a moderate to severe history of otitis media were 62 percent more likely to be obese.
Another study showed that tonsillectomies may also cause taste nerve damage that triggers food preferences. A study of more than 13,000 children ages 6 to 17 found that those who had had their tonsils removed were also at an increased risk for being overweight.
* Los Angeles Times August 15, 2008