A Qualitative Investigation of Parents' Perspectives About Feeding Practices With Siblings Among Racially/Ethnically and Socioeconomically Diverse Households

Jerica M. Berge, Amanda Trofholz, Anna Schulte, Katherine Conger, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Objective Little is known about parent feeding practices with siblings. Because this is a new area of research, qualitative research is needed to understand parents' perspectives about how they make decisions about feeding siblings and whether they adapt their feeding practices dependent on sibling characteristics such as weight status. The main objective of the current study was to describe parent feeding practices with siblings. Design Qualitative cross-sectional study with 88 parents with at least 2 siblings. Setting Parents were interviewed in their homes in Minneapolis/St Paul Minnesota. Participants Parents were from racially/ethnically diverse (64% African American) and low-income households (77% earned < 35,000/y). Main Outcome Measure Parents' perceptions of feeding practices with siblings. Analysis Qualitative interviews were coded using a hybrid deductive and inductive content analysis approach. Results Parents indicated that they used child food preferences, in-the-moment decisions, and planned meals when deciding how to feed siblings. Additionally, the majority of parents indicated that they managed picky eating by making 1 meal or giving some flexibility/leeway to siblings about having other food options. Furthermore, parents endorsed using different feeding practices (eg, food restriction, portion control, pressure-to-eat, opportunities for healthful eating) with siblings dependent on child weight status or age/developmental stage. Conclusions and Implications Findings from the current study may inform future research regarding how to measure parent feeding practices with siblings in the home environment and the development of interventions tailored for families with multiple children in the home. Future quantitative research is needed to confirm these qualitative findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-504.e1
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016



  • childhood obesity
  • parent feeding practices
  • qualitative
  • siblings
  • weight status

Cite this