Food responsiveness, parental food control and anthropometric outcomes among young American Indian children: cross-sectional and prospective findings

Ethn Dis. 2013 Spring;23(2):136-42.


Objective: Assess cross-sectional and prospective associations between food responsiveness and parental food control and anthropometric outcomes among American Indian children.

Design: Parents/caregivers completed psychosocial surveys and trained staff measured children's anthropometry at baseline (kindergarten) and at follow-up (1st grade) as part of a school-based obesity prevention trial (Bright Start).

Setting: On/near the Pine Ridge Indian reservation.

Participants: 422 child (51% female, mean age=5.8 years, 30% overweight/obese) and parent/caregiver (89% mothers) dyads.

Main outcome measures: Two independent variables (child's Food Responsiveness and Parental Control scales) and six child anthropometric dependent variables (overweight status, body mass index z-score, % body fat, waist circumference, triceps skinfold, subscapular skinfold). Linear regression analyses, stratified by sex and adjusted for age and treatment condition.

Results: Baseline Food Responsiveness scale scores were positively associated with all six baseline anthropometric outcomes among boys (P's all <.01), but not girls. Parental Control scale scores were not significantly associated with outcomes and no prospective associations were statistically significant.

Conclusions: Responsiveness to food may be associated with excess adiposity in young American Indian boys, however, the effects are not detectable over time. Obesity prevention programs for American Indian children may benefit by addressing eating without hunger among boys.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Body Size
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American* / psychology
  • Male
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Parents