Maternal Predictors of Child Dietary Behaviors and Weight Status

Curr Nutr Rep. 2018 Dec;7(4):268-273. doi: 10.1007/s13668-018-0250-1.


Purpose of review: To provide scientific evidence showing links between parenting/feeding, child eating, and weight status and recommend best practices for creating a feeding environment protective against childhood obesity.

Recent findings: Current research shows that authoritative styles in both feeding and general parenting contexts has been consistently associated with better child health outcomes. Authoritative feeding styles have been associated with better child dietary quality and weight. Indulgent feeding styles have been associated with problematic child eating behaviors and higher weight. Authoritative general parenting styles have predicted healthier child weight status overtime. Highly controlling feeding behaviors in the form of parental styles or practices hinder development of healthy eating in children. It is more productive to study styles of feeding as opposed to practices as feeding styles show less variability in predicting child health outcomes. Areas that warrant further research are identified and recommendations of beneficial feeding behaviors are provided.

Keywords: Child eating behaviors; Childhood obesity; Feeding practices; Feeding styles; General parenting styles.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Feeding Methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meals
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Weight Gain