Parental Feeding Style and Eating Attitudes: Influences on Childrens Eating Behavior
Suzanne E. Mazzeo,
Karen S. Mitchell,
Clarice K. Gerke,
Cynthia M. Bulik.
Within the past three decades, the percentage of children who are overweight or at risk for overweight has more than doubled. Pediatric overweight negatively affects physical and psychological well-being, and overweight children are at high risk of becoming obese adults. Several parental variables are associated with childhood eating and weight problems, including genetics, feeding style, and role modeling of eating behaviors and attitudes. Parental restriction appears to be associated with unhealthy eating behaviors in children, particularly Caucasian girls. However, it is unknown whether parental restriction of access to highly palatable foods causes disinhibited eating and overweight in children, or if parents restrict in response to childrens overeating. Additionally, parental disinhibition seems to impact childrens eating behaviors negatively. Further, disinhibition appears to be strongly influenced by genetic factors; certain individuals may be predisposed to eat in response to environmental cues. In sum, many questions about parental factors associated with childrens eating behaviors remain. In addition to summarizing the literature, this review highlights areas where further investigation is needed. Finally, we provide preliminary suggestions for practitioners and others working with parents concerned about their children ’ s eating and weight, and highlight the need for intervention at multiple levels.
Keywords: Parental feeding style, pediatric overweight, disinhibition, restraint, pressure to eat
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