Although food production and living in towns near agricultural fields helped offset seasonal food shortages, it had a biological cost: the heavy reliance on starchy foods like corn and the high population densities of larger towns may have led to malnutrition and encouraged the spread of diseases.
Infant mortality was high. Horizontal linear defects in the teeth (enamel hypoplasia) and leg bones (harris lines) of many individuals indicate a slowing of body growth and reflect times of dietary stress during adolescence. Cavities, reflecting an increase in sugars in the diet from corn and other starchy foods, were common. Boney growths on vertebrae of many people indicate, that like today, arthritis was a common affliction of old age.