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Developing a Nutrition Education Program for Children/Adolescents with Eating Challenges

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As seen in both unfolding cases, Mia and Thomas, nutrition affects overall health. Both children have disordered eating. Mia is underweight and snacks on sugary foods that cause her to have severe dental caries. Thomas, on the other hand, is an overeater who suffers from obesity and depression and is at high risk for diabetes. Although the children present opposite ends of the spectrum of “disordered eating,” both suffer from poor nutrition. We know that Mia’s nutrition has affected her oral health. We do not know the status of Thomas’ oral health at this time.

Childhood dental caries are among the most prevalent health problems facing American infants, children, and adolescents. Childhood overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions. In 2009–2012, nearly one in three youth ages 2 to 19 years were overweight or obese (2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, p. 2).

There are many common risk factors for both obesity and oral health problems in childhood. By focusing on these common risk factors we can decrease both the rates of obesity and dental disease. Interprofessional collaboration between medical and dental health care teams is essential in addressing these two most prevalent diseases of childhood.

This teaching strategy focuses on developing competencies to educate parents and children on the importance of good nutrition in order to promote good oral health and prevent obesity.

Developing a Nutrition Education Program for Children/Adolescents with Eating Challenges

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