Associations of parenting styles, parental feeding practices and child characteristics with young children's fruit and vegetable consumption

FWO Flanders, Belgium.
Appetite (Impact Factor: 2.69). 12/2010; 55(3):589-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.09.009
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of parent and child characteristics in explaining children's fruit and vegetable intakes. In 2008, parents of preschoolers (mean age 3.5 years) from 56 schools in Belgium-Flanders completed questionnaires including a parent and child fruit and vegetable food frequency questionnaire, general parenting styles (laxness, overreactivity and positive interactions), specific food parenting practices (child-centered and parent-centered feeding practices) and children's characteristics (children's shyness, emotionality, stubbornness, activity, sociability, and negative reactions to food). Multiple linear regression analyses (n = 755) indicated a significant positive association between children's fruit and vegetable intake and parent's intake and a negative association with children's negative reactions to food. No general parenting style dimension or child personality characteristic explained differences in children's fruit and vegetable intakes. Child-centered feeding practices were positively related to children's fruit and vegetable intakes, while parent-centered feeding practices were negatively related to children's vegetable intakes. In order to try to increase children's fruit and vegetable consumption, parents should be guided to improve their own diet and to use child-centered parenting practices and strategies known to decrease negative reactions to food.

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    • "All were keen to communicate their ‘weight management’ competence to us; a finding that was also consistent with Canadian research [19]. Yet existing evidence suggests that there is little association between parenting style and children’s dietary intake [20]. If anything, there is some suggestion that food restriction may have negative consequences [21, 22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The high prevalence of childhood obesity is a concern for policy makers and health professionals, leading to a focus on early prevention. The beliefs and perspectives of parents about early childhood obesity, and their views and opinions about the need for weight management interventions for this age group are poorly understood. Methods A formative qualitative focus group study with parents of pre-school children took place in eight community-based locations throughout North-East Scotland to explore their ideas about the causes of early childhood obesity, personal experiences of effective weight management strategies, and views about the format and content of a possible child-orientated weight management programme. Study participants were recruited via pre-school nurseries. Results Thirty-four mothers (median age 37 years) took part in the study, but only two believed their child had a weight problem. Participants (who focussed primarily on dietary issues) expressed a strong sense of personal responsibility to ‘get the balance right’ regarding their child’s weight, and were generally resistant to the idea of attending a weight management programme aimed at very young children. At the same time, they described a range of challenges to their weight management intentions. These included dealing with intrinsic uncertainties such as knowing when to stop ‘demand feeding’ for weight gain, and judging appropriate portion sizes - for themselves and their children. In addition they faced a range of extrinsic challenges associated with complex family life, i.e. catering to differing family members dietary needs, food preferences, practices and values, and keeping their ‘family food rules’ (associated with weight management) when tired or pressed for time. Conclusions The findings have important implications for health professionals and policy makers wishing to engage with parents on this issue, or who are currently developing ‘family-centred’ early childhood weight management interventions. The challenge lies in the fact that mothers believe themselves to be the primary (and capable) agents of obesity prevention in the early years – but, who are at the same time, attempting to deal with many mixed and conflicting messages and pressures emanating from their social and cultural environments that may be undermining their weight management intentions.
    BMC Public Health 09/2014; 14(1):1009. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1009 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "For this age group, food consumption is still partly under parental control. However, children's personalities may influence and interact with their parents' behavior, affecting the parents' feeding styles and choice of foods they offer (Gubbels et al., 2009; Horn, Galloway, Webb, & Gagnon, 2011; Vereecken et al., 2010). These transactional processes between parents and children concerning food are also likely to influence the child's weight. "
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    ABSTRACT: The role of children's personality traits in the consumption of potentially obesogenic foods was investigated in a sample of Norwegian children aged 6-12 years (N=327, 170 boys, 157 girls). Mothers rated their child's personality on the traits of the Five Factor Model (i.e., extraversion, benevolence, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and imagination). Mothers also completed a food frequency questionnaire assessing their child's consumption of sweet drinks, sweet foods, and fruit and vegetables, and reported their child's height and weight. Controlling for age and mothers' education, boys and girls who were less benevolent consumed more sweet drinks, and girls who were less conscientious and more neurotic consumed more sweet drinks. Boys and girls who were more benevolent and imaginative consumed more fruits and vegetables, and boys who were more extraverted, more conscientious, and less neurotic consumed more fruits and vegetables. Controlling for maternal education, boys and girls who were less extraverted, and girls who were less benevolent, less conscientious, and more neurotic were more likely to be overweight or obese. These findings suggest that children's personality traits play an important yet understudied role in their diet. Further investigation of mechanisms that relate child traits to obesogenic eating and overweight would be valuable.
    Appetite 03/2012; 58(3):1113-7. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2012.02.056 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study aimed to investigate associations of both parent-reported and child-perceived parenting styles and parent-reported parenting practices with child weight and weight-related behaviours. Participants were 175 children (56% female) aged between 7 and 11, and their primary caregivers (91% female), recruited through South Australian primary schools. Children completed measures of parenting style, attitude toward fruit, vegetables, and non-core food, and attraction to physical activity. Parents completed measures of parenting style and domain-specific parenting practices (feeding and activity-related practices) and reported on child dietary intake, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour. Objective height and weight measurements were taken from children, from which body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Child-reported parenting style and parent-reported parenting practices were uniquely associated with child weight-related outcomes, but styles and practices did not interact in their association with child outcomes. Child-reported parenting style was associated with child food and activity attitudes, whereas parent-reported parenting style was not associated with child outcomes. The findings of the present study generally support the recommendation of a parenting style high in demandingness and responsiveness for supporting healthy child weight-related behaviours, along with appropriate domain-specific practices. The child's perspective should be incorporated into research involving child outcomes wherever possible.
    Appetite 08/2011; 57(3):700-6. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2011.08.014 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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