Location: Children's Nutrition Research CenterTitle: General parenting and Hispanic mothers' feeding practices and styles
|POWER, THOMAS - Washington State University|
|FISHER, JENNIFER - Temple University|
|O'CONNOR, TERESIA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)|
|MICHELI, NILDA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)|
|PAPAIOANNOU, MARIA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)|
|HUGHES, SHERYL - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)|
Submitted to: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/31/2020
Publication Date: 1/6/2021
Citation: Power, T.G., Fisher, J.O., O'Connor, T.M., Micheli, N., Papaioannou, M.A., Hughes, S.O. 2021. General parenting and Hispanic mothers' feeding practices and styles. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18(2):380. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020380.
Interpretive Summary: Research has established that general (non-food related) as well as feeding dimensions, styles, and practices are related to young children's weight status. However, the vast majority of studies have involved middle class, European or European American families and examined only a small number of feeding practices. Given the limited number of studies on the relationship between general parenting and feeding in minority samples, and the focus of most studies on a small number of feeding behaviors, the purpose of the current study was to examine the relationship between general parenting and feeding behavior in a low-income, Hispanic sample of parent/child dyads—a group at high risk for the development of childhood obesity. Specifically, 187 mothers with preschool children completed validated questionnaires assessing their general parenting, feeding styles, and feeding practices. Overall, results from this study showed that relationships between general parenting and feeding practices in Hispanic mothers with low incomes are very similar to those identified in other populations. However, no one-to-one correspondence was found between parenting styles and feeding styles in this sample. The current results have implications for childhood obesity prevention programs. The findings suggest that specific goal oriented feeding practices promoting healthy eating in children can be changed without having to change the general parenting style. This further supports the value of continuing to develop and evaluate programs to address childhood obesity by promoting responsive feeding styles in parents of young children.
Technical Abstract: Previous research has shown that general parenting styles, general parenting dimensions, maternal feeding styles, and maternal feeding practices all show specific relationships with the weight status of young children. This study examined the relationships between general parenting and maternal feeding styles/practices in a sample of 187 Hispanic mothers with low incomes. As part of a larger study, mothers of preschool children were recruited through Head Start programs and completed validated questionnaires assessing their general parenting, feeding styles, and feeding practices. Results identified numerous associations between general parenting dimensions and specific feeding practices: i.e., maternal nurturance was positively associated with healthy eating guidance and feeding responsiveness; inconsistency was positively associated with restriction for weight and promotion of overconsumption; follow through on discipline was positively associated with monitoring, healthy eating guidance, and feeding responsiveness; and family organization was positively associated with monitoring and healthy eating guidance. General parenting styles were associated with feeding practices as well, with authoritative mothers showing the highest levels of healthy eating guidance and authoritarian mothers showing the lowest levels of monitoring. There were no significant associations between mothers' general parenting styles and mothers' feeding styles. Implications of these findings for the prevention of childhood obesity are considered.