Springer Nature

Real-time predictors of food parenting practices and child eating behaviors in racially/ethnically diverse families

Posted on 2023-07-12 - 03:19
Abstract Background Prior research has shown associations between controlling food parenting practices (e.g., pressure-to-eat, restriction) and factors that increase risk for cardiovascular disease in children (e.g., low diet quality, obesity). This study aimed to examine associations between real-time parental stress and depressed mood, food parenting practices, and child eating behaviors in a longitudinal cohort study. Methods Children ages 5–9 years and their families (n = 631) from six racial/ethnic groups (African American, Hispanic, Hmong, Native American, Somali/Ethiopian, White) were recruited for this study through primary care clinics in a large metromolitan area in the US (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) in 2016–2019. Ecological momentary assessment was carried out over seven days with parents at two time points, 18 months apart. Adjusted associations between morning stress and depressed mood of parents on food parenting practices and child eating behaviors at the evening meal were examined. Interactions tested whether food security, race/ethnicity and child sex moderated associations. Results High levels of parental stress and depressed mood experienced earlier in the day were associated with controlling food parenting practices and child food fussiness at dinner the same night. Results were dependent on food security status, race/ethnicity, and child sex. Conclusions Health care professionals may want to consider, or continue, screening parents for stress, depression, and food insecurity during well-child visits and discuss the influence these factors may have on food parenting practices and child eating behaviors. Future research should use real-time interventions such as ecological momentary intervention to reduce parental stress and depressed mood to promote healthy food parenting practices and child eating behaviors.


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