Children's eating behavior, feeding practices of parents and weight problems in early childhood: Results from the population-based Generation R Study

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (Impact Factor: 4.11). 10/2012; 9(1):130. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-130
Source: PubMed


Weight problems that arise in the first years of life tend to persist. Behavioral research in this period can provide information on the modifiable etiology of unhealthy weight. The present study aimed to replicate findings from previous small-scale studies by examining whether different aspects of preschooler’s eating behavior and parental feeding practices are associated with body mass index (BMI) and weight status -including underweight, overweight and obesity- in a population sample of preschool children.

Cross-sectional data on the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, Child Feeding Questionnaire and objectively measured BMI was available for 4987 four-year-olds participating in a population-based cohort in the Netherlands.

Thirteen percent of the preschoolers had underweight, 8% overweight, and 2% obesity. Higher levels of children’s Food Responsiveness, Enjoyment of Food and parental Restriction were associated with a higher mean BMI independent of measured confounders. Emotional Undereating, Satiety Responsiveness and Fussiness of children as well as parents’ Pressure to Eat were negatively related with children’s BMI. Similar trends were found with BMI categorized into underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity. Part of the association between children’s eating behaviors and BMI was accounted for by parental feeding practices (changes in effect estimates: 20-43%), while children’s eating behaviors in turn explained part of the relation between parental feeding and child BMI (changes in effect estimates: 33-47%).

This study provides important information by showing how young children’s eating behaviors and parental feeding patterns differ between children with normal weight, underweight and overweight. The high prevalence of under- and overweight among preschoolers suggest prevention interventions targeting unhealthy weights should start early in life. Although longitudinal studies are necessary to ascertain causal directions, efforts to prevent or treat unhealthy child weight might benefit from a focus on changing the behaviors of both children and their parents.

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Available from: Henning Tiemeier
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    • "Our results extend the findings from previous research that indicated that parental feeding behavior is closely associated with child eating behaviors[25,33,55,73,90919293and parental concern for child weight[38,42], but not necessarily with the child's actual weight[38]. Our model shows that parents who perceive their children as having a small appetite are more likely to report exerting pressure to eat. "
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    ABSTRACT: Insight into parents’ perceptions of their children’s eating behaviors is crucial for the development of successful childhood obesity programs. However, links between children’s eating behaviors and parental feeding practices and concerns have yet to be established. This study aims to examine associations between parental perceptions of preschoolers’ eating behaviors and parental feeding practices. First, it tests the original 8-factor structure of the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ). Second, it examines the associations with parental feeding practices, measured with the Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ).
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · PLoS ONE
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    • "A range of explanations has been offered to analyse the causes of children's poor dietary habits. Among which the lack of knowledge as well as being affected by many aspects including parents, peers, and advertisements have been marked as the main causes [2]. Peers and parents have the most important social influence on children's eating habits, although, many researchers respectively study the parents' and the peers' influences on the children's eating habits and attitude [3]. "

    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014
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    • "Whereas mothers seem to be most involved in buying food and preparing it, the influence of the other parent and the rest of family members (siblings, grandparents) should not be discounted. Additionally , as the relationship between parent and child is bi-directional, to fully understand parenting practices we need to take into account children's characteristics such as their eating behavior (Jansen et al., 2012), temperament (Bergmeier, Skouteris, Horwood, Hooley, & Richardson, 2014a, 2014b; Faith & Hittner, 2010) and appetitive traits (Llewellyn, van Jaarsveld, Johnson, Carnell, & Wardle, 2010). The fact that 94% of the children in this sample spend most of their daytime in kindergarten, thus, outside of the parent's direct influence on feeding, shows that the child care environment is of paramount importance . "
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    ABSTRACT: The Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ) assesses parental feeding attitudes, beliefs and practices concerned with child feeding and obesity proneness. The questionnaire has been developed in the U.S., and validation studies in other countries are limited. The aim of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the CFQ in Sweden and the associations between parenting practices and children's weight status. Based on records from the Swedish population register, all mothers of 4-year-olds (n=3007) from the third largest city in Sweden, Malmo, were contacted by mail. Those who returned the CFQ together with a background questionnaire (n = 876) received the CFQ again to enable test-retest evaluation; 564 mothers completed the CFQtwice. We used confirmatory factor analysis to test whether the original 7-factor model was supported. Good fit (CFI = 0.94, TLI = 0.95, RMSEA = 0.04, SRMR = 0.05) was obtained after minor modifications such as dropping 2 items on restriction and adding 3 error covariances. The internal reliability and the 2-week test-retest reliability were good. The scores on restriction were the lowest ever reported. When the influence of parenting practices on child BMI (dependent variable) was examined in a structural equation model (SEM), child BMI had a positive association with restriction and a negative association with pressure to eat. Restriction was positively influenced by concern about child weight. The second SEM treated parenting practices as dependent variables. Parental foreign origin and child BMI had direct effects on restriction, while pressure to eat was also influenced by parental education. While the results of the study support the usefulness of the CFQin Sweden, carefully designed cross-cultural comparisons are needed to explain why the levels of restrictive feeding in Swedish families are the lowest reported. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Appetite
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