Parental child-feeding in the context of child temperament and appetitive traits: Evidence for a biopsychosocial process model of appetite self-regulation and weight status

Jeffrey Liew, Zhiqing Zhou, Marisol Perez, Myeongsun Yoon, Mirim Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pediatric obesity is a serious public health challenge and there is a need for research that synthesizes the various linkages among the child and parental factors that contribute to pediatric overweight and obesity. The main objective of this study was to examine potential mechanisms and pathways that might explain how child temperament is indirectly related to child body composition through appetitive traits and parental child-feeding practices. Participants consisted of 221 children between 4–6 years of age (51% males, mean age = 4.80 years, standard deviation = 0.85) and their parents (90.5% biological mothers, (Mage) = 32.02 years, (SDage) = 6.43) with 71% of the parents being married. Study variables included child temperament (negative affectivity and effortful control), child appetitive traits (food avoidance and food approach), controlling parental child-feeding practices (restrictive feeding and pressure to eat), and child body composition. Body composition were indexed by parent perceptions, body mass index (BMI), and percent body fat. Results showed that children with low levels of effortful control are more prone to exhibit food avoidance, which in turn is likely to elicit parental pressure to eat that in turn is linked to high child weight status. In addition, children with high levels of negative affectivity are prone to exhibit a food approach, which in turn is likely to elicit restrictive feeding from parents that in turn is linked to high child objective weight status. Findings situate controlling parental child-feeding practices in the context of child temperament and appetitive traits using a biopsychosocial framework of appetite self-regulation and weight. Results highlight that child appetite self-regulation processes and parental child-feeding practices could be essential components to target in childhood obesity preventive interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3353
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalNutrients
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Appetitive traits
  • Childhood obesity
  • Parental feeding
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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