Background: Parents are an important influence on children's dietary intake and eating behaviors. However, the lack of a conceptual framework and inconsistent assessment of food parenting practices limits our understanding of which food parenting practices are most influential on children. The aim of this study was to develop a food parenting practice conceptual framework using systematic approaches of literature reviews and expert input.
Method: A previously completed systematic review of food parenting practice instruments and a qualitative study of parents informed the development of a food parenting practice item bank consisting of 3632 food parenting practice items. The original item bank was further reduced to 110 key food parenting concepts using binning and winnowing techniques. A panel of 32 experts in parenting and nutrition were invited to sort the food parenting practice concepts into categories that reflected their perceptions of a food parenting practice conceptual framework. Multi-dimensional scaling produced a point map of the sorted concepts and hierarchical cluster analysis identified potential solutions. Subjective modifications were used to identify two potential solutions, with additional feedback from the expert panel requested.
Results: The experts came from 8 countries and 25 participated in the sorting and 23 provided additional feedback. A parsimonious and a comprehensive concept map were developed based on the clustering of the food parenting practice constructs. The parsimonious concept map contained 7 constructs, while the comprehensive concept map contained 17 constructs and was informed by a previously published content map for food parenting practices. Most of the experts (52%) preferred the comprehensive concept map, while 35% preferred to present both solutions.
Conclusion: The comprehensive food parenting practice conceptual map will provide the basis for developing a calibrated Item Response Modeling (IRM) item bank that can be used with computerized adaptive testing. Such an item bank will allow for more consistency in measuring food parenting practices across studies to better assess the impact of food parenting practices on child outcomes and the effect of interventions that target parents as agents of change.
Keywords: Child; Concept mapping; Family; Food; Measurement; Nutrition; Parenting; Parenting practices.