Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY Title: Permissive parental feeding behavior is associated with an increase in intake of low-nutrient-dense foods among American children living in rural communities

Authors
item Hennessy, Erin -
item Hughes, Sheryl -
item Goldberg, Jeanne -
item Hyatt, Raymond -
item Economos, Christina -

Submitted to: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 8, 2011
Publication Date: January 14, 2012
Citation: Hennessy, E., Hughes, S.O., Goldberg, J.P., Hyatt, R., Economos, C.D. 2012. Permissive parental feeding behavior is associated with an increase in intake of low-nutrient-dense foods among American children living in rural communities. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 112:142-148.

Interpretive Summary: Parents play an important role in shaping children's eating habits. Few studies have evaluated the influence of both parenting style (how parents interact with their child) and parenting practices (behabioral strategies parents use) on child outcomes such as dietary intake. Parental feeding style (study consisted of Hispanic, African American, and Caucasian participants) was found to be a potential modifiable risk factor for children's consumption of low nutrient-dense (LND) foods. A permissive feeding style was positively associated with and moderated the relationship between parental feeding practices and child LND food intake. This offers a potential area for dietetics practitioners to intervene. Future research should expand this study to parent–child groups from other cultural backgrounds (specifically Asian) and also incorporate a more comprehensive set of parental feeding practices. Results from these studies can provide a better understanding of the parent–child feeding relationship and guidance for developing behavior change interventions.

Technical Abstract: Parents play an important role in shaping children's eating habits. Few studies have evaluated the influence of both parenting style and parenting practices on child outcomes such as dietary intake. Ninety-nine parent–child dyads from four rural US areas participated in this cross-sectional study. Child food intake was reported during two interviewer-administered, parent-assisted 24-hour recalls. Diet quality was defined as the average number of low-nutrient-dense (LND) foods consumed. Validated questionnaires were used to assess parental feeding practices and feeding style. Pearson correlations identified relationships among child food intake, parental feeding style typologies, and covariates. A permissive feeding style, which is highly responsive to a child's requests and sets few demands on him or her, was the most common parental feeding style. Parental feeding style may alter the effectiveness of parental feeding practices on children's food intake. More research is needed to understand the parent–child feeding relationship in the context of parental feeding styles and practices.

Last Modified: 12/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page