Dentists should log BMI of children, say health experts

Dentists should log BMI of children, say health expertsDentists and their teams should log the BMI of child patients when they attend the practice.

This is a suggestion put forward by a Danish study that looked at obesity and weight during childhood.

The study suggests that routine dental check-ups provide a good opportunity to measure BMI in a bid to improve early detection of long-term complications.

‘The prevalence of childhood obesity is high and the short-term and long-term complications of childhood obesity are numerous,’ says the study’s first author, Dr Christine Frithioff-Bøjsøe.

‘Overweight in early childhood often tracks into adolescence and adulthood. It is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, liver disease, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions in later life.

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‘As a result, the early identification and treatment of overweight provides a crucial opportunity to improve a child’s health for years to come.’

She added: ‘By the age of 11, 15-20% will exhibit overweight and a large group will subsequently exhibit high blood cholesterol levels, fatty liver disease or prediabetes, as well as a severely affected quality of life.

‘So, detecting these changes early would be a major advance in preventing the development of disease.’

Below recommendation

This comes as new findings reveal that nine in 10 UK teenagers do not eat enough vegetables.

According to a government-funded study from the University of Birmingham, just one in 10 consume 200g or more each day. Yet the NHS-recommended daily intake stands at 400g of fresh fruit and vegetables.

In addition, 30% between the ages 11 and 15 eat just 100g of fruit each day.

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