Addressing childhood overweight and obesity in the dental office: rationale and practical guidelines.
The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased dramatically in the past 3 decades. The purposes of this paper were to: review health and dental implications; present guidelines for tracking body mass index (BMI) percentiles in children; and discuss reasonable "next steps" to take in communicating with parents and other health professionals. The health implications of childhood obesity warrant early monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment. Trends in visitation patterns of children offer dentists an unusual opportunity and an important role in addressing childhood obesity through regular monitoring of height, weight, and BMI percentiles. Dentists' collaborations with pediatricians, registered dietitians, and parents have the potential to address the detrimental physical and psychosocial effects of childhood obesity. We encourage dentists to determine height, weight, and BMI percentiles for their patients at least annually. They should refer patients with unhealthy weight trajectories to pediatricians or family physicians and consider ancillary referrals to registered dietitians.
Tseng, R; Vann, WF; Perrin, EM
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