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Mexico ranks first in childhood obesity worldwide. However, little is known about the factors influencing maternal feeding practices. The present study aimed to estimate the prevalence of feeding practices and explore associations between weight concern, weight perception, sociodemographic characteristics and those feeding practices.
Mothers aged ≥18 years who were in charge of feeding a singleton child aged 2–6 years with no endocrine disease or visible genetic malformations (n 507). Information on six maternal feeding practices, concern and perception of the child’s weight and demographics were collected by interview. The mother’s and child’s height and weight were measured. The feeding practices questionnaire was subject to content, construct and convergent validity analysis. Then, mean feeding scores were obtained and prevalence and 95 % CI were determined for scores ≥3; multivariate logistic regression was performed.
Not modelling (63·5 %; 95 % CI 59·2, 67·8 %) and pressuring to eat (55·6 %; 95 % CI 51·2, 60·0 %) were the most frequent feeding practices, followed by easy access to unhealthy foods (45·4 %; 95 % CI 40·9, 49·8 %) and child control (43·2 %; 95 % CI 38·8, 47·6 %). They prevailed despite concern about the child’s excess weight or a perception of the child as overweight/obese. Education was associated with the highest number of practices (educated mothers used more pressuring to eat, less regulation and less easy access; or monitoring was less absent).
The frequency of certain feeding practices needs to be improved. Emphasis on the child’s weight concern, obesity perception and maternal education is essential for optimizing intervention planning.
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