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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Maternal feeding styles and food parenting practices as predictors of longitudinal changes in weight status in Hispanic preschoolers from low-income families

Author
item Hughes, Sheryl - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Power, Thomas - Washington State University
item O'connor, Teresia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Fisher, Jennifer - Temple University
item Chen, Tzu-an - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Journal of Obesity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/19/2016
Publication Date: 6/27/2016
Citation: Hughes, S.O., Power, T.G., O'Connor, T.M., Fisher, J.O., Chen, T. 2016. Maternal feeding styles and food parenting practices as predictors of longitudinal changes in weight status in Hispanic preschoolers from low-income families. Journal of Obesity. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7201082.

Interpretive Summary: Previous studies linking parent-child behavioral processes to child weight have targeted feeding styles and practices as playing a key role in either promoting or preventing childhood obesity. This study examined the long-term effects of feeding styles and food parenting practices on children's weight status in low-income families. The results showed that children with parents classified as indulgent in their feeding styles at the first visit (parents who were highly responsive to children during dinner but set few boundaries) had an increased body mass index (BMI) score at the second visit when compared to children with parents classified in the other feeding style categories. Other predictors of child BMI-score at the second visit included maternal acculturation, use of restriction, and use of monitoring. The results of this study will be helpful to researchers who are interested in designing obesity prevention programs for low-income families.

Technical Abstract: The aim was to investigate the influence of feeding styles and food parenting practices on low-income children's weight status over time. Participants were 129 Latina parents and their Head Start children participating in a longitudinal study. Children were assessed at baseline (4 to 5 years old) and again eighteen months later. At each time point, parents completed questionnaires and height and weight measures were taken on the child. The indulgent feeding style (parent-report at baseline) was associated with increased child BMI score eighteen months later compared to other feeding styles. Authoritative, authoritarian, and uninvolved feeding styles were not significantly associated with increased child BMI score. Child BMI score at Time 1 (strongest) and maternal acculturation were positive predictors of child BMI score at Time 2. Maternal use of restriction positively predicted and maternal monitoring negatively predicted Time 2 BMI score, but only when accounting for feeding styles. This is the first study to investigate the impact of feeding styles on child weight status over time. Results suggest that indulgent feeding predicts later increases in children’s weight status. The interplay between feeding styles and food parenting practices in influencing child weight status needs to be further explored.