• Introduction to proceedings of healthy futures: engaging the oral health community in childhood obesity prevention national conference

      Tinanoff, N.; Holt, K. (Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2017)
      Objectives: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has worked to ensure that all children have healthy weights. To promote this goal, the RWJF has supported the Healthy Futures: Engaging the Oral Health Community in Childhood Obesity Prevention National Conference, held on November 3-4, 2016, and the proceeding of this conference. The goals of the conference were to increase understanding of the science focusing on oral health and childhood obesity, increase understanding of how to prevent childhood obesity, and provide opportunities to network and plan activities to prevent childhood obesity. Methods: The papers prepared for the conference identified through systematic reviews or scoping reviews the state of the science related to preventing childhood obesity and reducing children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and strategies that oral health professionals and organizations can employ prevent childhood obesity. Results: Causes of childhood obesity are multifactorial and include genetic components, environmental and lifestyle variables, and nutritional factors. Dental caries also is caused by a combination of factors, including cariogenic diet, inadequate fluoride exposure, a susceptible host, and the presence of caries-causing bacteria in the oral cavity. One key risk factors for both obesity and caries is excessive sugar consumption. Conclusions: To reduce the risk of obesity and dental caries in children, health professionals and parents need to be aware of the sugar content of processed foods and beverages as well as of current daily sugar-consumption recommendations. Additionally, oral health professionals must become more engaged in identifying children who are at risk for obesity and dental caries; and provide education, screening and referral to reduce these risks.