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Parent feeding behavior and child appetite: Associations depend on feeding style

Authors

  • Susan Carnell PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
    • Correspondence to: Susan Carnell, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. E-mail: susan.carnell@jhmi.edu

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  • Leora Benson MS,

    1. Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
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  • Elissa Driggin BS,

    1. New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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  • Laura Kolbe MPhil

    1. University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia
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  • Supported by funding from the NIH (K99DK088360, R00DK088360), MRC and CRUK.

ABSTRACT

Objective

Eating behavior traits measured in early life predict eating behavior and weight trajectories later in development, and may be associated with certain parental feeding behaviors. Our goal was to investigate the relationship between a range of feeding behaviors, and preschoolers' appetitive traits.

Method

Four hundred thirty-nine parents of UK 3–5 year olds completed scales measuring authoritarian vs. authoritative forms of limiting (Restriction vs. Monitoring) and promoting (Pressuring vs. Prompting) intake, as well as Emotional and Instrumental Feeding. Parents also completed scales measuring child Food responsiveness and Satiety responsiveness. Child BMI z-scores were calculated based on measured heights and weights.

Results

Parental Restriction was significantly associated with greater child Food responsiveness (p < .001), but parental Monitoring was not. Parental Pressuring was significantly associated with greater child Satiety responsiveness (p < .001), while parental Prompting was not. Parental Instrumental and Emotional feeding were both associated with greater child Food responsiveness (p < .001). All relationships were independent of child BMI z-score.

Discussion

Prospective data are needed to determine whether the parent–child feeding relationships identified here promote, or protect against, the development of eating pathology in children. However, our results suggest that cross-sectional associations depend on the style (e.g., authoritarian vs. authoritative), as well as the type of feeding behavior measured. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:705–709)

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