A systematic review of responsive feeding and child obesity in high-income countries

J Nutr. 2011 Mar;141(3):495-501. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.130047. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


Child overweight/obesity continues to be a serious public health problem in high-income countries. The current review had 3 goals: 1) to summarize the associations between responsive feeding and child weight status in high-income countries; 2) to describe existing responsive feeding measures; and 3) to generate suggestions for future research. Articles were obtained from PubMed and PsycInfo using specified search criteria. The majority (24/31) of articles reported significant associations between nonresponsive feeding and child weight-for-height Z-score, BMI Z-score, overweight/obesity, or adiposity. Most studies identified were conducted exclusively in the United States (n = 22), were cross-sectional (n = 25), and used self-report feeding questionnaires (n = 28). A recent trend exists toward conducting research among younger children (i.e. infants and toddlers) and low-income and/or minority populations. Although current evidence suggests that nonresponsive feeding is associated with child BMI or overweight/obesity, more research is needed to understand causality, the reliability and validity between and within existing feeding measures, and to test the efficacy of responsive feeding interventions in the prevention and treatment of child overweight/obesity in high-income countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developed Countries*
  • Feeding Behavior* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / prevention & control
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting* / psychology
  • Parents / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors