Does child weight influence how mothers report their feeding practices?

School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University , Loughborough, Leicestershire , UK.
International journal of pediatric obesity: IJPO: an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity (Impact Factor: 3.03). 08/2011; 6(3-4):306-13. DOI: 10.3109/17477166.2011.575160
Source: PubMed


The present study aimed to ascertain whether parental reports of their feeding practices are associated with independent observations of these behaviours, and whether the reliability of maternal report depends upon the child's weight.
A total of 56 mothers and their children ate a lunch to satiety which was videotaped and coded for maternal use of control during feeding. Mothers also completed questionnaires about their feeding practices and children were weighed and measured.
Maternal reports of controlling feeding practices were poorly related to independent observations of these behaviours in the laboratory. However, there was a significant interaction between child BMI z score and observed pressure to eat in predicting maternally reported pressure to eat. There was also a significant interaction between child BMI z score and observed maternal restriction with food in predicting maternally reported restriction. When decomposed, these interactions suggested that only mothers of relatively underweight children were accurate at reporting their use of pressure to eat when compared to independent observations. For mothers of relatively overweight children there was a significant negative relationship between observed and reported restriction over food.
Overall there was poor correspondence between maternal reports and independent observations of the use of controlling feeding practices. Further research is needed to replicate these findings and to ascertain whether parents who are inaccurate at reporting their use of these feeding practices are unaware that they are using controlling feeding practices or whether they are responding in socially desirable ways to questionnaires assessing their feeding behaviour.

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