A descriptive assessment of a broad range of food-related parenting practices in a diverse cohort of parents of preschoolers using the novel Real-Time Parent Feeding Practices Survey

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Abstract

Background: Much of the research to-date on food parenting has evaluated typical use of various parent feeding practices via questionnaire. The Real-Time Parent Feeding Practices Measurement survey was developed for use within an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) protocol to capture momentary use of parent feeding practices in real-time. Methods: This manuscript describes the development of the EMA-based Real-Time Parent Feeding Practices survey and highlights initial descriptive data on the real-time use of 22 individual parent feeding practices (e.g., pressure-to-eat, guided choices, etc.) as reported via EMA by parents of preschool-aged children (n = 116) over a 10-day data collection time period. A total of 3382 eating occasions were reported, with an average of 29.2 reported eating occasions per participant. Results: Results revealed that most participants used a variety of food-related parenting practices day-to-day that span four higher-order domains: structure, autonomy support, coercive control and indulgence. Supportive feeding practices, defined as those from the structure and autonomy support domains, were reported most frequently, with one or more structure behavior (e.g., specific mealtime rules/routines) was used at 88.9% of reported eating occasions and one or more autonomy support behavior (e.g., involvement of the child in meal preparation) was used at 87.3% of eating occasions. While unsupportive feeding practices, defined as practices from within the coercive control (e.g., pressure-to-eat) and indulgent (e.g., anticipatory catering) feeding domains, were reported less frequently, one or more behaviors from each of these domains were still reported at over 25% of all eating occasions. Conclusions: Results of the current study take a next step towards deepening our understanding of the use of a broad range of food-related parenting practices in real-time. Findings revealed that the vast majority of practices used by parents fall within the structure and autonomy support domains. However, most parents did not exclusively use supportive or unsupportive practices, rather they used a combination of food-related parenting practices across all domains. Future research should continue to explore a broad range of food-related parenting practices and seek to understand how parent approaches to feeding are associated with long-term child outcomes, including dietary intake, food preferences, and eating patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development (K23HD090324–02; PI: Loth) and the National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (R35HL139853, PI: Neumark-Sztainer). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development or National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Funders did not play a role in the study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, nor in the writing of the report or the decision to submit this article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Dietary intake
  • Eating patterns
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Food parenting practices
  • Real-time assessment
  • Parenting
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Child Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Meals
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Child
  • Child Rearing

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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