Directive and non-directive food-related parenting practices: Associations between an expanded conceptualization of food-related parenting practices and child dietary intake and weight outcomes

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This study examines associations between an expanded conceptualization of food-related parenting practices, specifically, directive and non-directive control, and child weight (BMI z-score) and dietary outcomes [Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2010, daily servings fruits/vegetables] within a sample of parent-child dyads (8–12 years old; n = 160). Baseline data from the Healthy Home Offerings via the Mealtime Environment (HOME Plus) randomized controlled trial was used to test associations between directive and non-directive control and child dietary outcomes and weight using multiple regression analyses adjusted for parental education. Overall variance explained by directive and non-directive control constructs was also calculated. Markers of directive control included pressure-to-eat and food restriction, assessed using subscales from the Child Feeding Questionnaire; markers of non-directive control were assessed with a parental role modeling scale and a home food availability inventory in which an obesogenic home food environment score was assigned based on the types and number of unhealthful foods available within the child's home food environment. Directive control Food restriction and pressure-to-eat were positively and negatively associated with BMI z-scores, respectively, but not with dietary outcomes. Non-directive control An obesogenic home food environment was inversely associated with both dietary outcomes; parental role modeling of healthful eating was positively associated with both dietary outcomes. Neither non-directive behavioral construct was significantly associated with BMI z-scores. Total variance Greater total variance in BMI-z was explained by directive control; greater total variance in dietary outcomes was explained by non-directive control. Including a construct of food-related parenting practices with separate markers for directive and non-directive control should be considered for future research. These concepts address different forms of parental control and, in the present study, yielded unique associations with child dietary and weight outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-195
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Child BMI
  • Child dietary intake
  • Child feeding practices
  • Food-related parenting practices
  • Home food environment
  • Parental role modeling
  • Pressure-to-eat
  • Restriction

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