A dentist talks to a patient in the chair

Public and dental teams' views about delivering weight management interventions in dental health settings

The average prevalence of weight screening by dental teams is 29% yet most members of the public were supportive of having their weight measured (83%) and discussed (85%) by dental teams at appointments.

Weight screening and approaching conversations around weight and health with patients in a supportive manner have been shown to be well received. Dental teams can play an important role in supporting the public in making healthier lifestyle choices through brief interventions at appointments. 

We systematically synthesised the views of both the public and dental teams about delivering weight management interventions in dental settings and we also identified potential barriers to implementation. A total of 7851 studies were screened and 33 included in the review. Proportional meta-analyses were performed with quantitative data and thematic analysis of qualitative data. 

Few dental practices offer weight management interventions, but patients are open to receiving weight screening and interventions in this context. A variety of potential barriers were proposed by dental teams about raising the topic of weight and offering interventions with their patients, yet there is a high degree of acceptance of doing so amongst the public. This should offer reassurance to dental teams that weight management interventions are acceptable to patients and likely to be well received by them.

What next?

Further research to explore and pilot the most feasible and acceptable weight intervention approaches within dental settings is recommended. Meanwhile, raising awareness of weight stigma and approaching conversations about health in a supportive manner through training is recommended for dental teams.

Citation details

Large JF, Madigan CD, Graham H, Biddle GJH, Sanders J, Daley AJ. Public and dental teams' views about weight management interventions in dental health settings: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews. 2024. DOI: 10.1111/obr.13726


Amanda Daley is supported by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Professorship award. This research was supported by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Find out more about our work in brief interventions and making every contact count

Our researchers

Jess Large

Doctoral Researcher, weight intervention by dental teams and paediatric dentists

Amanda Daley

Professor Amanda Daley

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Centre Director

Claire Madigan

Dr Claire Madigan

Senior Research Associate, Weight management interventions

Henrietta Graham

Henrietta Graham

Research Associate

James Sanders

Dr James Sanders

Senior Research Associate, Snacktivity programme