The role of parental control practices in explaining children's diet and BMI

Appetite. Mar-May 2008;50(2-3):252-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2007.07.010. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

Abstract

This paper aimed to investigate which parents use which types of parenting control practices to manage their children's diets and to assess the impact of these practices on children's dietary patterns and their BMI. A cross-sectional survey of 518 parents with children aged 4-7 years was carried out in 18 primary schools across the South of England. Measures included aspects of parental control practices and the child's diet. Results showed that older parents with a lower BMI and who were stay at home parents used more "snack overt control", "snack covert control" and "meal covert control" and those with more education used more covert control strategies. In contrast, male, non-white parents with younger children used more "pressure to eat". In terms of the children's diet, the results showed links between parental and child demographics and aspects of unhealthy and healthy food intake. In addition, links were also found for parental control practices. For example, eating more unhealthy snacks was related to less covert control and more pressure to eat, eating fruit and vegetables was related to higher levels of both overt and covert control over meals and less pressure to eat and being neophobic was related to less covert control over meals and more pressure to eat. The children's BMIs were unrelated to any variables measured in the study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Energy Intake
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / prevention & control
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Psychology, Child
  • Social Environment