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Title: Maternal parenting behaviors during childhood relate to weight status and fruit and vegetable intakes of college students

item HOERR, SHARON - Michigan State University
item MURSHIMA, MEGUMI - Michigan State University
item HUGHES, SHERYL - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item KATTELMANN, KENDRA - South Dakota State University

Submitted to: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2010
Publication Date: 6/14/2010
Citation: Hoerr, S., Murshima, M., Hughes, S.O., Kattelmann, K.K. 2010. Maternal parenting behaviors during childhood relate to weight status and fruit and vegetable intakes of college students [abstract]. International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 21: S01.5.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine if childhood parenting behaviors, under both general and feeding specific situations, related to college students’ weight status, waist circumference (WC), and fruit and vegetable (FV) intakes. U.S. college students (n equals 424, 66 percent female, 18-24 yr, Body Mass Index greater or equal to 18.5kg/m2, non-nutrition majors) completed anthropometric measurements (weight, height, WC) and questionnaires on current FV intakes and their mother’s parenting behaviors during elementary school. Maternal behaviors included child acceptance, psychological control, behavioral control under general situations, and parent-centered feeding behaviors and child-centered feeding behaviors under feeding specific situations. Regression analysis tested if the maternal parenting behaviors during childhood predicted college students’ BMI, WC, and FV intakes controlling for demographic and family-related variables. Our results showed maternal acceptance had no association with any outcome variables. The greater the maternal psychological control, the higher the students’ BMI and WC. Maternal behavioral control was not associated with any dependent variables except weakly with FV intake in males. Maternal parent-centered feeding behaviors negatively related to female students’ FV intake and negatively to males’ BMI. Maternal child-centered feeding behaviors related to WC in both genders, but the significance weakened when analyzed by gender. We have concluded that during childhood, parental use of psychological control in general situations (i.e. neglect and guilt induction), and parent-centered behaviors in feeding specific situation (i.e. food restriction and rewarding child to eat) should be minimized. Instead, parental use of child-centered feeding practices (i.e., praising and encouragement at mealtimes) should be advocated to promote long-term healthy weight status and dietary habits.