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Children’s dietary intake impacts weight status and a range of short- and long-term health outcomes. Accurate measurement of factors that influence children’s diet is critical to the development and evaluation of interventions designed to improve children’s diets. The purpose of the current paper is to present the development of the Table Talk observational tool to measure early care and education teachers’ (ECET) verbal feeding communications.
An observational tool to assess ECET verbal communication at mealtimes was deigned based on the extant literature. Trained observers conducted observations using the tool during lunch for both lead and assistant ECET. Descriptive statistics, test–retest for a subgroup, interclass correlations for each item, and comparisons between leads and assistants were conducted.
Head Start centres, Southern USA.
Seventy-five Head Start educators.
On average, 17·2 total verbal feeding communications (sd 8·9) were observed per ECET. For lead ECET, the most prevalent Supportive Comment was Exploring Foods whereas for assistants Making Positive Comments was the most prevalent. Overall, lead ECET enacted more Supportive Comments than assistant ECET (F(2,72)=4·8, P=0·03). The most common Unsupportive Comment was Pressuring to Eat, with a mean of 3·8 (sd 4·3) and a maximum of 25. There was no difference in Unsupportive Comments between lead and assistant ECET.
Table Talk may be a useful tool to assess verbal feeding communications of ECET, with potential applications such as informing ECET training and assessing intervention efforts.
The purpose of the study was to test the moderating influence of two risk factors, maternal depression and socio-economic status (SES), on the association between authoritarian and permissive parenting styles and child obesity.
Correlational, cross-sectional study. Parenting style was measured with the Parenting Styles and Dimensions Questionnaire (PSDQ). Maternal depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). BMI-for-age percentile was used to categorize children by weight status (children with BMI-for-age ≥95th percentile were classified as obese). SES was computed from parent education and occupational status using the four-factor Hollingshead index.
Rural public schools in a mid-western state in the USA.
One hundred and seventy-six mothers of first-grade children (ninety-one boys, eighty-five girls) enrolled in rural public schools.
Both maternal depression and SES were found to moderate the permissive parenting style/child obesity association, but not the authoritarian/child obesity association. For depressed mothers, but not for non-depressed mothers, more permissive parenting was predictive of child obesity. Similarly more permissive parenting was predictive of child obesity among higher SES mothers, but not for lower SES mothers.
Maternal depression and SES interact with permissive parenting style to predict child obesity. Future research should examine the relationship among these variables using a longitudinal design.
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