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In recent years, researchers have been working towards creating a standard conceptual framework of food parenting. To understand how parents’ reports correspond with the proposed model, the current study examined parents’ reports of their feeding behaviours in the context of a newly established framework of food parenting.
Cross-sectional, with a two-week follow-up for a subset of the sample. Participants completed a quantitative and qualitative survey to assess food parenting. The survey included items from common food parenting instruments to measure the constructs posited in the framework. Exploratory factor analyses were conducted to ascertain which items related most closely to one another and factors were mapped on to existing constructs.
Parents of children aged 2·5–7 years (n 496). Of these, 122 completed a two-week follow-up.
Analyses revealed eleven aspects of Structure (monitoring; distraction; family presence; meal/snack schedule; unstructured practices; healthy/unhealthy food availability; food preparation; healthy/unhealthy modelling; rules), ten aspects of Coercive Control (pressure to eat; using food to control emotions; food incentives to eat; food incentives to behave; non-food incentives to eat; restriction for health/weight; covert restriction; clean plate; harsh coercion) and seven aspects of Autonomy Promotion (praise; encouragement; nutrition education; child involvement; negotiation; responsive feeding; repeated offering). Content validity, assessed via parents’ open-ended explanations of their responses, was high, and test–retest reliability was moderate to high. Structure and Autonomy Promoting food parenting were highly positively correlated.
In general, parents’ responses provided support for the model, but suggested some amendments and refinements.
To combat childhood obesity, researchers have focused on parental feeding practices that promote child health. The current study investigated how parenting style relates to twelve parental feeding practices.
Data on parenting style and parental feeding practices were obtained for a correlational study from users of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an online survey system.
Mothers of children aged 7–11 years (n 193).
Parenting style related differentially to eleven out of the twelve measured practices. Authoritative mothers displayed more feeding practices that promote child health and fewer practices that impede child health. Authoritarian and permissive mothers displayed more unhealthy practices than authoritative mothers, but differed from each other on the practices they employed.
Parenting style may relate to more aspects of feeding than previously realized. The inclusion of numerous healthy feeding practices along with unhealthy practices in the current study provides suggestions for the application of healthy feeding behaviours. Instruction on feeding behaviours and parenting style should be a focus of future educational programmes.
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