Parent behavior and child weight status among a diverse group of underserved rural families

Appetite. 2010 Apr;54(2):369-77. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.01.004. Epub 2010 Jan 15.


The purpose of this study was threefold: to investigate the association between three parenting behaviors (parenting style, feeding style, and feeding practices), to evaluate whether these behaviors were associated with child weight, and to determine whether style (parenting and feeding) moderated the relationship between feeding practice and child weight. Ninety-nine parent-child dyads were recruited for a cross-sectional study where parents self-reported their parenting style, feeding style, and feeding practices along with demographic characteristics. Height and weight were measured for each dyad. The relationship between parenting style and feeding style showed modest agreement. Feeding style, but not parenting style, was associated with child BMI z-score while controlling for known covariates. An indulgent feeding style was associated with a higher child weight status. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that feeding style moderated the association between restrictive feeding practices and child BMI z-score. No moderating relationship was found between feeding style and the practices of pressure to eat or monitoring and child weight. This research suggests that an indulgent feeding style may be predictive of higher child weight and that future studies should examine the possible moderating role of feeding style in the parent feeding practice-child weight relationship.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Authoritarianism*
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Permissiveness*
  • Poverty / psychology
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*