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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Asssociations among parental feeding styles and children's food intake in families with limited outcome

item Hoerr, Sharon
item Hughes, Sheryl
item Fisher, Jennifer
item Nicklas, Theresa
item Yan, Liu
item Shewchuk, Richard

Submitted to: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/13/2009
Publication Date: 8/13/2009
Citation: Hoerr, S., Hughes, S., Fisher, J., Nicklas, T., Liu, Y., Shewchuk, R. 2009. Asssociations among parental feeding styles and children's food intake in families with limited outcome. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 6:55-62.

Interpretive Summary: Findings suggest that permissive feeding styles like indulgent or uninvolved, were associated with lower children's intakes of nutrient-rich foods like fruit, 100% juice, vegetables, and dairy in the afternoon and evening. It is time to move research in this area beyond general parenting style, to context specific feeding style and beyond food restriction, to the broader feeding context to understand how mealtime feeding behaviors relate to the child's food intake, nutritional and weight status. It seems that restrictive feeding studies may be too limited and the research on general parenting styles and overweight are too broad. We suggest the examination of context specific parenting food practices to know how these influence what children eat and understand how best to intervene.

Technical Abstract: Although general parenting styles and restrictive parental feeding practices have been associated with children's weight status, few studies have examined the association between feeding styles and proximal outcomes such as children's food intake, especially in multi-ethnic families with limited incomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of parental feeding styles and young children's evening food intake in a multiethnic sample of families in Head Start. Participants were 715 Head Start children and their parents from Texas and Alabama, representing three ethnic groups: African-American (43%), Hispanic (29%), and White (28%). The Caregivers Feeding Styles Questionnaire (Hughes) was used to characterize authoritative, authoritarian (referent), indulgent or uninvolved feeding styles. Food intake in several food groups was calculated from 3 days of dietary recalls for the child for evening food intakes from 3 PM until bedtime. Compared to children of authoritarian parents, intakes of fruits, juice and vegetables were lowest among children of indulgent or uninvolved parents (1.77 +/- 0.09 vs 1.45 +/- 0.09 and 1.42 +/- 0.11 cups), as were intakes of dairy foods (0.84 +/- 0.05 vs 0.67 +/- 0.05 and 0.63+0.06 cups), respectively. Findings suggest that permissive parent feeding styles like indulgent or uninvolved relate negatively to children's intake of nutrient-rich foods fruit, 100% fruit juice, vegetables, and dairy foods from 3 PM until bedtime.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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