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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Parenting and children’s eating patterns: Examining control in a broader context

item Hughes, Sheryl
item O'connor, Teresia
item Power, Thomas

Submitted to: Trade Journal Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/21/2008
Publication Date: 12/1/2008
Citation: Hughes, S.O., O'Connor, T.M., Power, T.G. 2008. Parenting and children’s eating patterns: Examining control in a broader context. International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health. 1(4):323-329.

Interpretive Summary: O

Technical Abstract: Because overweight status in children has greatly risen over the past three decades and is significantly related to adult obesity and chronic illnesses, the weight status of children has become an important public health concern worldwide. Unfortunately, research regarding parental feeding behaviors - one important predictor of weight status in young children - has been narrowly focused on a single aspect of parental control in feeding: restriction of snack foods. In this conceptual paper, we discuss the current research examining high control strategies in parental feeding and propose a broader conceptualization of control that encompasses both amount of control and directiveness along continuums. Furthermore, we discuss the parenting literature examining general parenting styles and propose a conceptualization of feeding within the general framework of parenting. We advocate that research in parental feeding move beyond its current conceptualization of high control to encompass a more comprehensive framework that includes parental warmth, control, and structure and suggest how these can work together to improve children's eating behaviors.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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