Parent-child feeding strategies and their relationships to child eating and weight status

Obes Res. 2004 Nov;12(11):1711-22. doi: 10.1038/oby.2004.212.


Parental feeding styles may promote overeating or overweight in children. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken to summarize the associations between parental feeding styles and child eating and weight status. Twenty-two studies were identified. We systematically coded study attributes and outcomes and tested for patterns of association. Nineteen studies (86%) reported at least one significant association between parental feeding style and child outcome, although study methodology and results varied considerably. Studies measuring parental feeding restriction, as opposed to general feeding control or another feeding domain, were more likely to report positive associations with child eating and weight status. Certain associations differed by gender and by outcome measurement (e.g., rate of eating as opposed to total energy intake). Parental feeding restriction, but no other feeding domain, was associated with increased child eating and weight status. Longitudinal studies are needed to test underlying causal pathways, including bidirectional causal models, and to substantiate findings in the presence of other obesity risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Diet*
  • Eating* / psychology
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Hyperphagia
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Parent-Child Relations*