Submitted to: Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/2/2007
Publication Date: 3/1/2007
Citation: Hughes, S.O., Baskin, M., Shewchuk, R., Franklin, F., Nicklas, T. 2007. Impact of the shared permissive feeding environment on Head Start children [abstract]. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 33(Suppl):S186, No. 3301. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: A permissive feeding environment can be described as one in which excess energy intake is allowed or encouraged. Broad patterns of feeding that could tap into permissive feeding environments have been neglected. Using a parenting methodology, a feeding questionnaire was developed to measure general feeding styles. Head Start parents in Alabama and Texas participated in the study (n = 697). Parents completed questionnaires on feeding styles, parental affect, and child temperament. Children were measured to determine body mass index. Parents were categorized into feeding styles (authoritative, n = 115; authoritarian, n = 210; permissive-indulgent, n = 236; permissive-uninvolved, n = 136). Based on a MANOVA, a significant main effect for feeding style was found. Permissive-indulgent parents reported significantly less parental negative affect and less negative affectivity for their children compared to other groups. Permissive-uninvolved parents reported significantly less parental positive affect and less effortful control for their children. Because the relationship between parenting styles and child outcomes is not consistent across ethnic groups, ethnic/geographical differences regarding child BMI were examined within each feeding style. Within the permissive-indulgent feeding style, European-American children had significantly higher BMI z scores (M = 1.41) compared to both samples of African-African children (M = .71, AL; M = .56, TX). Within the permissive-uninvolved feeding style, European-American children had significantly higher BMI z scores (M = 1.52) compared to African-American children from Texas (M = -.07). Because child BMI z scores varied so widely within the permissive feeding styles (e.g., M for European-American children with uninvolved parents was close to the 95th percentile whereas the M for African-American children from TX was below the 50th percentile), it appears that the shared parent-child permissive feeding environment may manifest itself differently for different ethnic/geographical groups.