Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2005
Publication Date: 4/1/2005
Citation: Patrick, H., Fisher, J., Butte, N.F. 2005. Good foods and bad foods: the role of restriction in children's eating habits [abstract]. Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Abstract No. F-180. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The parent-child relationship provides the primary social context in which children develop. This applies not only to social behaviors but to health behaviors as well. Families (n=320) participated as part of a larger study on obesity among Hispanics. Children were served a dinner providing 50% of daily energy requirements and then given unrestricted access to 10 palatable snack foods (e.g., chips, chocolate, ice cream). Children were then interviewed about their perceptions of parental restriction of the 10 snack foods, how much they ate during the snack session, and their tendency to secretively eat the foods at home. Maternal reports of restriction and monitoring in child feeding were measured using the Child Feeding Questionnaire. Multi-level models revealed several interesting findings. Children whose mothers reported greater restriction and monitoring in child feeding (1) reported that their parents would be upset if the snack foods were consumed without parental permission (ps<0.001) and (2) would feel bad if their mother knew what they ate during the snack session (ps<0.05). Importantly, children's expectation of negative parental reactions to food consumed during the snack session was associated with children's self-assessment of eating too much during the snack session and secretively eating those foods at home (ps<0.01). Thus, even though parents attempted to control their children's intake of these unhealthy foods and children anticipated negative reactions for eating them, children still ate these foods, whether that involved sneaking the foods at home or eating them during the unrestricted laboratory snack session.