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J Public Health Dent. 2017 Jun;77 Suppl 1:S104-S127. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12229. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Primary care interventions to reduce childhood obesity and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption: Food for thought for oral health professionals.

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School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Diablo Valley College Dental Hygiene Program, Pleasant Hill, CA, USA.
Healthy and Active Before 5, Concord, CA, USA.
Nutrition Policy Institute, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.



Childhood obesity remains a significant threat to America's children. Health care leaders have increasingly called upon oral health professionals to integrate healthy weight promotion and enhanced sugar-sweetened beverage counseling into their professional practices. The aim of this scoping review is to examine recent evidence regarding the effectiveness of primary care childhood obesity interventions that have potential for adoption by oral health professionals.


Medine, and PubMed were searched from 2010 to 2016 for review articles and studies reporting patient outcomes or policy outcomes relevant to primary care childhood obesity interventions for children ages 2-11 years. Additional articles were accessed through relevant websites, journals, and references. Our screening criteria included interventions that could be adopted by oral health professionals.


Forty-two articles met inclusion criteria. Effective interventions fell into four domains: family-based programs, motivational interviewing, office-based practice tools, and policy interventions. Despite strong evidence linking the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to childhood obesity, our review did not find evidence of primary care programs effectively targeting and reducing childhood sugary drinks.


Effective primary care interventions for addressing childhood obesity have been identified, although only short-term effectiveness has been demonstrated. Dissemination of these practices as well as further research and advocacy are needed. Childhood obesity and poor oral health share many common risk factors. Additional research should focus on the benefits and feasibility of widespread interdisciplinary medical-oral health collaboration in addressing the two most prevalent diseases of childhood.


childhood obesity; conflict of interest; electronic health records; health literacy; language interpreters; motivational interviewing; obesity; oral health; sugar-sweetened beverage; treatment outcome

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