312 Parental Attitudes Regarding Childhood Obesity Counseling in the Dental Office

Thursday, March 22, 2012: 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Presentation Type: Poster Session
C. MORRIS1, T. TRAN2, W. RICH2, M. BECK3, and R. TSENG1, 1Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, NC, 2Department of Public Health, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC, 3Department of Nutrition, Grillings School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Objectives: Childhood overweight and obesity (ow/ob) affect over 33% of children and adolescents. Effective diagnosis and treatment requires collaboration among pediatric healthcare providers, including dentists who see children.  Dentists are willing to engage in ow/ob prevention services, but no study has assessed whether parents are willing to accept diagnostic and counseling services from these providers.  The objective of this study was to assess parental comfort level and attitudes about addressing childhood ow/ob in the dental office.

Methods: Caregivers whose children presented for new patient or recall visits in a pediatric dental private practice were surveyed. Likert scales and dichotomous questions assessed parental comfort level with different healthcare providers discussing child ow/ob, and perceived difficulty of sustaining ow/ob-associated lifestyle changes for 3 or 6 months.  Bivariate analysis was performed with Chi-square tests to identify significant associations. P< 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

Results: Physicians discussed BMI percentile at only 30% of well child visits. Private insurance, completion of a college degree, and believing children would not outgrow obesity were significantly associated with parental acceptance of weight counseling. A significant majority of parents felt that addressing child weight in the dental office was appropriate, and were just as comfortable talking with dentists as they were with physicians. “Having breakfast everyday” and “having fruits/vegetables at least once per day” were rated as easier goals than brushing twice per day. For all lifestyle changes, there was no difference in reported difficulty for sustaining changes for 3 or 6 months.

Conclusion: Child weight discussions occur infrequently, highlighting an opportunity for dentists to be involved. Parents believe that discussing a child’s weight in the dental office is appropriate, and are comfortable engaging in such discussions.  This study provides a starting point for promoting lifestyle changes to address childhood ow/ob in the dental office.

Keywords: Children, Diet, Nutrition, Providers and Quality of life
See more of: Nutrition Research
See more of: Nutrition
<< Previous Abstract | Next Abstract