A new collaboration between faculty members in the College of Public Health’s Center for Obesity Research and Education and Temple’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry aims to incorporate nutrition and obesity screenings into regular dental care. The collaboration has resulted in the publication of a new guide for dental professionals titled the “Nutrition Counseling and Obesity Prevention Handbook“.
Obesity and dental decay are prevalent chronic childhood diseases. The same foods and factors that lead to dental decay—sugary foods, sodas, and candy, for instance—also contribute to childhood obesity. So, when dentists are looking for signs of tooth decay, they’re also looking for a kind of forensic evidence of poor nutrition. This means that dental professionals are well positioned to comprehensively evaluate child dietary and nutritional behaviors, assess risk, and provide appropriate counseling to children and families in order to prevent obesity and dental decay.
The Nutrition Counseling and Obesity Prevention Handbook has been developed primarily to serve as an evidence-based resource for dental professionals to increase their knowledge and skills in childhood obesity prevention, healthy nutrition, and dietary counseling. It is a useful resource for oral health-related organizations, community health centers with dental clinics, and other academic programs interested in playing a role in childhood obesity prevention and comprehensive efforts to raise healthy, smiling children.
The handbook is available publicly and is free to access and download.