Inducing preschool children's emotional eating: Relations with parental feeding practices

School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 08/2010; 92(2):359-65. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29375
Source: PubMed


Children's emotional eating is related to greater body mass index and a less-healthy diet, but little is known about the early development of this behavior.
This study aimed to examine the relations between preschool children's emotional eating and parental feeding practices by using experimental manipulation of child mood and food intake in a laboratory setting.
Twenty-five 3-5-y-old children and their mothers sat together and ate a standard meal to satiety. Mothers completed questionnaires regarding their feeding practices. Children were assigned to a control or negative mood condition, and their consumption of snack foods in the absence of hunger was measured.
Children whose mothers often used food to regulate emotions ate more cookies in the absence of hunger than did children whose mothers used this feeding practice infrequently, regardless of condition. Children whose mothers often used food for emotion regulation purposes ate more chocolate in the experimental condition than in the control condition. The pattern was reversed for children of mothers who did not tend to use food for emotion regulation. There were no significant effects of maternal use of restriction, pressure to eat, and use of foods as a reward on children's snack food consumption. Conclusions: Children of mothers who use food for emotion regulation consume more sweet palatable foods in the absence of hunger than do children of mothers who use this feeding practice infrequently. Emotional overeating behavior may occur in the context of negative mood in children whose mothers use food for emotion regulation purposes. This trial was registered at as NCT01122290.

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    • "Therefore, it is expected that parenting styles may have an impact on the global adaptation of the child, which was one of the most important findings in this study. It is also important to note that parental feeding practices are important because they may ''teach'' children to use food to cope with emotional feelings (Blissett et al. 2010). Parental modeling of eating behaviors could also play an important role in determining food intake (Jelalian and Hart 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Pediatric obesity is a serious health condition associated with lower psychosocial adjustment in children/adolescents and their families. Mothers of children/adolescents with obesity usually present higher levels of parenting stress, and investigation shows that the authoritarian and permissive parenting styles are more used by those mothers. However, little is known about the influence of parental variables on children/adolescent outcomes. This study intended to: (1) investigate differences in the quality of life (QoL) between children/adolescents with obesity and healthy weight, (2) investigate differences between mothers regarding parenting stress and parenting styles, and (3) assess the mediating role of parenting styles in the relationship between parenting stress and the QoL of children/adolescents with obesity. The sample comprised 223 children/adolescents and their mothers (125 children/adolescents with a healthy weight and 98 with obesity). Children/adolescents completed measures of QoL (KIDSCREEN-10) and mothers completed measures of parenting stress (Parenting Stress Index) and parenting styles (Parenting Styles and Dimensions Questionnaire). Mothers of children/adolescents with obesity presented higher levels of parenting stress than mothers of children/adolescents with healthy weight. Mothers of adolescents with obesity used more a permissive parenting style than mothers of adolescents with healthy weight. Higher levels of parenting stress were associated with poorer QoL in children/adolescents through the use of permissive parenting style. This study emphasizes the connection between parenting stress, parenting styles and children’s/adolescent’s QoL, providing innovative input to the field by identifying mechanisms that might account for the link between family and child variables.
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    • "The subscale of emotion regulation consists of three items and was used to measure parents' use of food to regulate children's negative emotional states. The concurrent validity of this subscale was demonstrated by a positive association between parents' reports of emotion regulation feeding practices and observed children's emotional eating (Blissett et al., 2010). An example item is " When this child gets fussy, is giving him/her something to eat or drink the first thing you do? " . "
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    ABSTRACT: Past research suggests an association between parents' and children's emotional eating, but research has yet to examine mechanisms underlying this association. OBJECTIVE: The current study examined whether feeding for emotion regulation mediates the association between parents' and children's emotional eating, and whether this association is moderated by children's self-regulation in eating. METHOD: 95 parents reported on their own and their children's emotional eating, their children's self-regulation in eating, as well as their feeding practices. RESULTS: Findings revealed that feeding for emotion regulation mediated the association between parents' and children's emotional eating when children's self-regulation in eating was low, but not when self-regulation in eating was high. CONCLUSION: The current findings demonstrate the complexity of the link between parents' and children's emotional eating, suggesting practitioners should consider both feeding practices and children's self-regulation in eating when designing intervention programs. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Pediatric Psychology. All rights reserved.For permissions, please e-mail:
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Pediatric Psychology
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    • "Similar survey findings were reported for restriction among younger children : no association , or a negative association was ob - served between parental restriction and children ' s eating and / or weight ( Campbell et al . , 2010 ; Carnell & Wardle , 2007 ; Farrow & Blissett , 2008 ; Gregory , Paxton , & Brozovic , 2010 ; Gubbels et al . , 2009 ; Powers , Chamberlin , van Schaick , Sherman , & Whitaker , 2006 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: Until now, the literatures on the effects of food parenting practices and parents' own dietary behavior on children's dietary behavior have largely been independent from one another. Integrating findings across these areas could provide insight on simultaneous and interacting influences on children's food intake. In this narrative review, we provide a conceptual model that bridges the gap between both literatures and consists of three main hypotheses. First, parental dietary behavior and food parenting practices are important interactive sources of influence on children's dietary behavior and Body Mass Index (BMI). Second, parental influences are importantly mediated by changes in the child's home food environment. Third, parenting context (i.e., parenting styles and differential parental treatment) moderates effects of food parenting practices, whereas child characteristics (i.e., temperament and appetitive traits) mainly moderates effects of the home food environment. Future studies testing (parts of) this conceptual model are needed to inform effective parent-child overweight preventive interventions. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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