Associations of Appetitive Traits and Parental Feeding Style with Diet Quality During Early Childhood.


BackgroundAppetitive traits and parent feeding styles are associated with body mass index in children, yet their associations with child diet quality are unclear.ObjectiveThe objective was to examine relations of appetitive traits and parental feeding style with diet quality in 3.5-year-old children.DesignThe study was a secondary, cross-sectional analysis of data from Sprouts, a follow-up study of the Pregnancy Eating Attributes Study (PEAS). Birthing parents completed the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire, Caregiver's Feeding Styles Questionnaire, and proxy 24-hour dietary recalls for their children from February 2019 to December 2020.Participants/settingParticipants were 162 birthing parents (early pregnancy BMI ≥18.5 kg/m2 and absence of pre-existing diabetes, any medical condition contraindicating study participation, self-reported eating disorder, and medications that could affect diet or weight) and their children living in North Carolina.Main outcome measuresHealthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) total scores were calculated.Statistical analyses performedPath modeling was conducted using PROC CALIS with full information maximum likelihood (FIML) to account for missing data (ResultsA 1-SD greater food fussiness was associated with a 2.4-point lower HEI-2015 total score [p = .02, 95% CI (-4.32, -0.48)] in children. When parental feeding style was authoritarian, a 1-SD greater food responsiveness was associated a 4.1-point higher HEI-2015 total score [p = .007, 95% CI (1.12, 7.01)] in children. When parental feeding style was authoritative, a 1-SD greater slowness in eating was associated with a 5.8-point lower HEI-2015 total score [p = .01, 95% CI (-10.26, -1.33)] in children.ConclusionsParental feeding style may modify the association of appetitive traits with diet quality in young children. Future research could determine whether matching parent feeding styles to child appetitive trait profiles improves child diet quality

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