Submitted to: Obesity
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2006
Publication Date: 10/20/2006
Citation: Hughes, S., Shewchuk, R., Qu, H. 2006. The differential impact of feeding strategies on children's intake and BMI among a tri-ethnic sample of Head Start families [abstract]. Obesity. 14(Suppl):A85. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Research examining the effect of parental feeding on the development of overweight among young children has focused on specific feeding strategies (i.e., restriction and control) in middle-class, European-American families. Feeding strategies that are counter-productive to healthy eating and weight among children in one ethnic group may work differently in another ethnic group. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of feeding strategies on child intake and weight in an ethnically diverse sample of Head Start parents. Feeding strategies associated with healthy diets (specifically fruit and vegetables) were elicited from Head Start parents using nominal group techniques. These statements were used to construct card sort exercises administered to 764 African-American (AA), Hispanic (H), and European-American (EA) Head Start parents across two sites. Ethnic-specific clusters of feeding strategies were derived using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. Strategy clusters were used as predictors for multiple regression models to explain parent/child BMI and child fruit and vegetable intake. Results showed that for AA parents, one feeding cluster reflecting contingency management was negatively associated with both parent (B = -.14, p < .05) and child (B = -.20, p < .001) BMI. Another feeding cluster reflecting restriction of junk foods/sweets was negatively related to child fruit (B = -.29, p < .001) and vegetable intake (B = -.15, p < .05). For H parents, a feeding cluster reflecting the combined use of contingency management and restriction of junk foods/sweets was associated with parent BMI (B = -.19, p < .05) but not with child BMI. For EA, parent's use of positive reasoning with children was positively associated with vegetable intake (B = .17, p < .05). Fruit intake among EA children was associated with parental efforts to enhance availability of healthy eating (B = .22, p < .05). The associations between feeding clusters and BMI were not significant among EA. These results suggest that parental feeding strategies may work differently in different ethnic groups. Based on information derived from this data, interventions can be tailored for specific ethnic groups to help parents promote healthy eating and reduce overweight among children at an early age.