Nutritional counseling practices: how do North Carolina pediatric dentists weigh in?

Pediatr Dent. 2008 Nov-Dec;30(6):488-95.


It has been demonstrated that nutrition/healthy lifestyle counseling can help alleviate the childhood obesity crisis. Because pediatric dentists see children with regular frequency, they are uniquely positioned to help provide such counseling.

Purpose: To document current nutrition/healthy lifestyle counseling practices of pediatric dentists in NC and examine factors associated with those practices.

Methods: A 65-item survey instrument was developed by an expert committee, pilot-tested and revised. The instrument contained questions in 6 domains: Academic Preparation, Knowledge, Confidence, Opinions, Practice Patterns and Barriers. It was sent to all clinically active pediatric dentists in NC.

Results: The response rate was 69% (70/102). Less than 25% provided nutrition counseling services. Academic preparation in residency training was statistically significant (P<.05) in determining those who practiced nutritional counseling. Logistic regression revealed that respondents with higher overall knowledge (OR=18.2), those comfortable discussing weight-related issues (OR=47.7), those in practice >10 years (OR=20.6), and females (OR=173) were more likely to provide nutrition/healthy lifestyle counseling.

Conclusions: All respondents believed that childhood obesity is a major health concern and expressed a willingness to assist other health professionals in addressing this problem. These findings offer a rich source of data that can be used for educational initiatives and strategic planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Care for Children / methods*
  • Dental Care for Children / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Dental
  • Female
  • Health Education, Dental / methods
  • Health Education, Dental / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Patient Education as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pediatric Dentistry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*