Measuring feeding in low-income African-American and Hispanic parents

Appetite. 2006 Mar;46(2):215-23. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2006.01.002. Epub 2006 Feb 28.


Current feeding measures have been developed based on the premise that a child's obesity risk is increased when parents exert high levels of control over feeding. Although these measures provide useful ways to assess parental restrictiveness in feeding, they do not capture other important aspects of feeding that describe the behavior of parents not overly concerned about child obesity. Alternative measures are important to develop, especially for minority populations where concerns about child obesity are often not a significant determinant of parental feeding practices. The current study describes a culturally informed method used to develop a broader assessment of parental feeding strategies across two low-income ethnic groups. To be able to accurately measure cultural differences associated with feeding, qualitative and quantitative methods were used to assure conceptual, linguistic, and measurement equivalency across African-American and Hispanic parents. Based on responses from 231 parents, mean differences in feeding strategies were found with Hispanic parents reporting significantly more parent-centered/high control and child-centered feeding strategies compared to African-Americans. Furthermore, the relationship between children's weight status and parental feeding strategies varied by the two ethnic groups and child gender. Implications of these results for understanding the role of parental socialization in the development of child obesity are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Feeding Behavior* / ethnology
  • Feeding Behavior* / psychology
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Parent-Child Relations* / ethnology
  • Poverty*
  • Sex Factors