Associations between parental stress, parent feeding practices, and child eating behaviors within the context of food insecurity

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12 Scopus citations


Food insecurity is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially for children from diverse households. Food insecurity presents a potentially different context in which parents engage in food-related parenting practices and children engage in eating behaviors. Parents may also experience higher levels of stress and depressed mood in the context of food insecurity. This study aims to examine associations between momentary parental stress and depressed mood, food-related parenting practices, and child eating behaviors within food secure and insecure households. Children ages 5–7 and their families (n = 150) from six racial/ethnic groups (n = 25 each African American, Hispanic, Hmong, Native American, Somali, White) were recruited for this mixed-methods study through primary care clinics in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in 2015–2016. High levels of parental stress and depressed mood experienced earlier in the day within food insecure households was associated with using restrictive feeding practices and serving more pre-prepared foods at the evening meal the same night. Parents from food secure households who experienced high levels of stress earlier in the day were more likely to engage in pressure-to-eat feeding practices, serve more fast food, and to have children who engaged in picky eating behaviors at the evening meal the same night. Health care clinicians may want to consider, or continue to, screen parents for food insecurity, stress, and depressed mood during well child visits and discuss the influence these factors may have on every day food-related parenting practices. Additionally, future research should consider using real-time interventions to reduce parental stress to promote healthy food-related parenting practices within food insecure and secure households.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101146
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research is supported by grant number R01HL126171 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Jerica Berge). K23DK118207 (PI: Elizabeth Rogers). K23HD090324 (PI: Katie Loth). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors


  • Child eating behaviors
  • Depression
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Food insecurity
  • Parent feeding practices
  • Stress

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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