Background: Certain mother-child feeding patterns (MCFPs) may promote childhood obesity and/or disordered eating.
Objectives: To assess the demographic correlates of MCFPs and to test whether differences in MCFPs are associated with child body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) z scores in a population-based study.
Design: A secondary analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth main and child cohorts was conducted on more than 1000 Hispanic, African American, and non-Hispanic/non-African American children, aged 3 to 6 years. The MCFPs were measured by means of 3 interview questions probing mother-allotted child food choice, child compliance during meals, and child obedience during meals.
Results: Mothers of non-Hispanic/non-African American children allotted greater food choice than mothers of African American or Hispanic children. Maternal BMI and other demographic measures were unrelated to MCFPs. The lowest levels of mother-allotted child food choice and child eating compliance were associated with reduced child BMI, with mean BMI z scores of -0.36 and -0.41, respectively. Effect sizes were small, however, and MCFPs did not discriminate children who were overweight or at risk for being overweight from children who were not (P>.05).
Conclusions: Feeding strategies providing the least child food choice were associated with reduced child BMI. However, MCFPs did not relate to child overweight status.