Observing Maternal Restriction of Food with 3–5-Year-Old Children: Relationships with Temperament and Later Body Mass Index (BMI)

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Abstract

Overt parental restriction of food has previously been associated with child weight; however, most research has relied on self-reported feeding behaviour, or observations which give little opportunity to observe restriction of food. Using a novel lab-based observational technique to increase the opportunity to observe maternal feeding restriction, we explored the relationships between maternal restriction, child responses to restriction and child temperament with child body mass index (BMI) Z-scores over time. Sixty-two mother child dyads were recruited to the study when their children were aged 3–5 years and were followed up 2 years later (N = 39 dyads). Families were observed during a feeding interaction in the laboratory where cookies were offered with the main meal to increase the opportunity for maternal restriction of food. Feeding observations were coded and child temperament and BMI were measured. Controlling for current child BMI Z-scores, greater maternal verbal and physical restriction of food at 3–5 years was related to higher child BMI Z-scores at 5–7 years. More emotional children were less likely to experience restriction and less likely to accept attempts to restrict their food intake. Further research should consider children’s reactions to parental feeding behaviours in greater depth and explore how feeding practices interact with child temperament in the prediction of changes in child weight.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1273
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access
article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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