Evaluation, Research and Development Unit

Oral Health and Diet

Study of the use of an oral health service to promote healthy eating in nursery and reception year children

Background

Oral health interventions that promote healthy diets children and their families may have the potential to deliver messages promoting healthy weights. Non-conventional settings for health promotion are currently being explored by service providers to develop innovative health interventions.  The common risk factor approach, which is recommended by the Oral Health Plan for England, addresses different health problems (e.g. oral health and obesity)  by working on a shared risk factor (e.g. healthy diets).

Priorities addressed

NHS County Durham and Darlington PCT has funded 30 dental surgery sites to undertake a programme of visits for early years children and their parents to practicesStudy of the use of an oral health service to promote healthy eating in nursery and reception year children see ERDU's 'Oral Health Promotion' project. As part of this initiative, the practices provide dietary advice, such as lowering daily sugar intake, eating fruits and vegetables, which is also advice given in interventions aimed at preventing or reducing obesity.

Study Aims

This research aims to:

1) understand children's and parents' perspectives of the dietary advice they were given

2) determine whether it is considered to be appropriate to deliver education of healthy eating practices as part of an oral health promotion in dental practices in conjunction with obesity interventions.

Study Methods

Families of children in nursery or reception year (aged 4-5 years) who were invited to attend a health promotion visit as part of the 'Oral health promotion' project will be recruited through the schools and centres. Children and their parents will be interviewed to learn their perspectives of the dietary advice they were given, and perceptions of the role of dentistry in public health interventions. Focus groups will be conducted with dental practice staff to explore their perceptions of the role of dentistry in public health interventions. A descriptive Framework Approach will be used to make comparisons between interviews.

Timescale

Study commences March 2012.