Background Child temperament is a measure of an individual's behavioral tendencies. The primary objective of this study was to examine whether child temperament modified the overweight risk associated with parent feeding behaviors and child eating behaviors. Methods A sample of predominantly African American, Midwest families (N = 120) recruited from four metropolitan primary care clinics participated in this cross-sectional, mixed methods study. Parents reported on feeding practices, child eating behaviors, and child temperament. Results Difficult temperament was not statistically related to parent feeding practices or child eating behaviors (p > 0.05). Tests of interaction indicated that the risk of child overweight differed by difficult temperament and easy temperament for two child eating behaviors (emotional eating and food fussiness, p < 0.05). For example, the effect of food fussiness decreased the risk of overweight for difficult temperament children but increased overweight risk for easy temperament children. Further, the effect of emotional eating increased the risk of overweight for difficult temperament children but decreased overweight risk for easy temperament children. Conclusions Tailoring parent-level interventions to child temperament or promoting environments that trigger less reactive individual responses may be effective in lowering risk of child overweight.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Research is supported by grant number R56HL116403 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Jerica Berge) and by grant number R21DK091619 from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (PI: Jerica Berge). Content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease or the National Institutes of Health.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
- Child obesity
- Child overweight
- Child temperament
- Eating behaviors
- Parent feeding practices