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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Low demanding parental feeding style is associated with low consumption of whole grains among children of recent immigrants

item Tovar, Alison - University Of Rhode Island
item Choumenkovitch, Silvina - Tufts University
item Hennessy, Erin - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item Boulos, Rebecca - University Of New England
item Must, Aviva - Tufts University
item Hughes, Sheryl - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Gute, David - Tufts University
item Vikre, Emily Kuross - Tufts University
item Economos, Christina - Tufts University

Submitted to: Appetite
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/8/2015
Publication Date: 6/26/2015
Citation: Tovar, A., Choumenkovitch, S.F., Hennessy, E., Boulos, R., Must, A., Hughes, S.O., Gute, D.M., Vikre, E., Economos, C.D. 2015. Low demanding parental feeding style is associated with low consumption of whole grains among children of recent immigrants. Appetite. 95:211-218.

Interpretive Summary: The length of time living in the U.S. may change how immigrant mothers feed their children. In this study of immigrant mothers living in the U.S. with children ages 3 to 12 years old, mothers completed a set of questionnaires including demographics, feeding behaviors, and dietary intake of their children. Regression models were run on these data reported from the mothers. Results showed that for mothers living the U.S. for less than five years, a more indulgent feeding style was related to children consuming less whole grains in their meals. This result was not seen in children's consumption if their mother had resided in the U.S. for more than five years. More research is needed to examine how living in the U.S. may influence immigrant mothers' decisions about how and what to feed their children.

Technical Abstract: We explored the influence of immigrant mothers feeding style on their children's fruit, vegetable and whole grain intake and how this relationship differed by mother's time in the U.S. Baseline data were collected on mother-child (3-12 yrs) dyads enrolled in Live Well (n=313), a community-based, participatory, randomized controlled lifestyle intervention (2008-2013). Socio-demographics, years of residence in the U.S., behavioral data, and responses to the Caregiver's Feeding Styles Questionnaire (CFSQ) were obtained from the mother. Measured heights and weights were obtained for both mother and child. Child dietary intake was assessed using the Block Food Screener. Separate multiple linear regression models were run, adjusting for child and mother covariates. Interactions between feeding styles and years in the U.S. (<5 and 5 years), ethnicity, and child age were tested. Sixty-nine percent of mothers were overweight or obese, 46 percent of the children were overweight or obese. For mothers in the U.S. for less than 5 years, having a low demanding/high responsive style was associated with lower child intake of whole grains in adjusted models vs. a high demanding/high responsive style (p < 0.05). This was not seen for mothers in the U.S. for 5 years. Thus, the influence of feeding style on dietary intake may change with length of time in the U.S. These hypotheses-generating findings call for future research to understand how broader socio-cultural factors influence the feeding dynamic among immigrants.