Cultural differences in parental feeding practices and children’s eating behaviours and their relationships with child BMI: a comparison of Black Afro-Caribbean, White British and White German samples

J Blissett, Carmel Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background/objectives:
Childhood obesity rates differ between cultural groups in Europe. Parents influence their children’s weight status and eating behaviours through feeding practices. We investigated cultural differences in feeding practices and eating behaviours and their relation to child weight in three groups that differed in cultural background and geographical location.

Subjects/methods:
Fifty-two White German (WG) families, in Germany (44 mothers, mean age 33.8 years), 79 White British (WB) families, in the UK (74 mothers, mean age 37.8) and 40 Black Afro-Caribbean (BAC) families, in the UK (34 mothers, mean age 31.8) participated in this study of 2–12-year-old children. Parents completed questionnaires assessing feeding practices and eating behaviours; children were measured and weighed by experimenters.

Results:
MANCOVAs indicated that BAC parents used the highest levels of restrictive feeding practices and the lowest levels of monitoring, and their children showed the highest levels of food-approach behaviours. WG parents used the lowest levels of pressure to eat. Partial correlations showed that food-approach behaviours were correlated with child BMI in BAC and WG families but not in WB families. Parental restriction was associated with child Body Mass Index (BMI) in BAC families only.

Conclusions:
There are both similarities and differences in feeding practices and eating behaviours and their relationships with child weight in different cultural groups. Findings highlight the importance of being aware of cultural differences when carrying out research with multi-cultural samples in Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-184
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

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