A Qualitative Exploration Into the Parent–Child Feeding Relationship: How Parents of Preschoolers Divide the Responsibilities of Feeding With Their Children

Katie A. Loth, Junia Nogueira de Brito, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Jennifer Orlet Fisher, Jerica M. Berge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To explore the extent to which parents divide responsibilities of feeding (what, when, where, how much, and whether) with their children and the factors that influence parents' approach to feeding. Design: Individual interviews. Participants: Parents (n = 40) of preschoolers. Phenomenon of Interest: Division of feeding responsibilities; motivation for feeding approach; challenges to feeding. Analysis: Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded using deductive and inductive content analysis. Results: Parent's approaches to feeding varied widely. A few parents followed the Division of Responsibility approach closely. Instead, many parents gave their child more than the recommended amount of influence over what foods were served and offered children less than the recommended amount of autonomy over the whether and how much of eating. Meals and snacks were approached differently; parents exhibited less control over the timing of snacks as well as the types and amounts of foods eaten during snacks, compared with the control exhibited during meals. Conclusions and Implications: These data support future research to understand the impact of this framework on child health outcomes when it is adhered to on all eating occasions, including snacks. Collaboration by researchers and clinicians to explore alternative frameworks that encourage parents to provide the structure and autonomy support may enhance positive outcomes in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-667
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Volume50
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant No. K23-HD090324-01A1 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (primary investigator: Katie Loth) and Grant No. R01HL116892 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (primary investigator: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, or the National Institutes of Health. The funding agency did not play a role study design, or collection, analysis, or interpretation of data, or in the writing of the manuscript. Finally, the completion of this research would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of student volunteers: Anne Hutchinson, Abbie Lee, and Junia Nogueira de Brito.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior

Copyright:
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Division of Responsibility
  • child feeding
  • dietary intake
  • parent feeding practices
  • qualitative

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