Sibling eating behaviours and parental feeding practices with siblings: Similar or different?

Jerica M. Berge, Allan D. Tate, Amanda Trofholz, Katherine Conger, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective Little is known about whether siblings have similar or different eating behaviours or whether parents tailor their feeding practices to different siblings. The main objectives of the present study were to examine similarities and differences in child eating behaviours and parental feeding practices with siblings and to determine whether child eating behaviours and parental feeding practices differ depending on sibling concordant (i.e. both siblings overweight or healthy weight) or discordant (i.e. one sibling overweight and one sibling healthy weight) weight status. Design Cross-sectional, mixed-methods study. Setting In-home visits were conducted by research staff. Surveys were conducted with parents and anthropometry was collected on parents and siblings. Subjects Children (n 88) aged 6-12 years (mean age 9 (sd 2) years), their parents (mean age 34 (sd 7) years) and near-age siblings (mean age 9 (sd 4) years) from diverse racial/ethnic and low-income households participated. Results Results indicated that siblings with higher BMI engaged in higher levels of emotional eating compared with siblings with lower BMI. Additionally, results indicated that when families had sibling dyads discordant on weight status, the sibling who was overweight had higher food enjoyment and lower levels of food satiety. Additionally, within siblings with discordant weight status, parents were more likely to use restrictive feeding practices with the overweight sibling and pressure-to-eat and encouragement-to-eat feeding practices with the healthy-weight sibling. Conclusions Family-based childhood obesity interventions may need to assess for sibling weight status when researching the home environment and intervene with parents to avoid using restriction or pressure-to-eat feeding practices when siblings are discordant on weight status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2415-2423
Number of pages9
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support: This research was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (grant number R56HL116403; Principal Investigator, J.M.B.) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (grant number R21DK091619; Principal Investigator, J.M.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2016.


  • Child eating behaviours
  • Childhood obesity
  • Parental feeding practices
  • Siblings
  • Weight status


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