Submitted to: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2007
Publication Date: 6/22/2007
Citation: Hughes, S., Shewchuk, R., Nicklas, T., Qu, H. 2007. The impact of the shared permissive feeding environment on low-income preschool children [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Abstract No. 23-1. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: To gain insight into parental feeding problems and strategies, this study investigated the impact of permissive feeding styles (FS) on overweight status of low-income preschool children and described the shared permissive feeding environment by examining characteristics of the parent (emotional affect) with characteristics of the child (temperament). Participants were 718 ethnically diverse Head Start parents. Based on a self-report questionnaire, parents were categorized into 1 of 4 FS including authoritative (n=118) authoritarian (n=219) and two permissive styles of indulgent (n=240) and uninvolved (n=141). Other measures included parental affect, child temperament, and feeding problems and strategies. Anthropometrics were measured. Children with indulgent parents were twice as likely to be overweight (> 95th percentile), compared to children with authoritative parents (OR: 1.83; 95% CI: 1.07-3.13; p = .028). Differences in affect, temperament, and feeding problems and strategies were found between indulgent parents and those with other FS. Indulgent parents perceived fewer feeding problems, used less punitive discipline to get children to eat, and perceived enhanced availability of fruits and vegetables as more effective compared to those with other FS (p < .001). Indulgent parents also reported less negative affect for themselves and less negative affectivity for their children than did those with other FS (p < .001). These findings enhance understanding of how context specific parenting styles impact weight status of young children. Indulgent feeding styles may impact the shift to overweight in children, at this pivotal age, by permitting their child easy access to excess energy intakes.