Parental Feeding Strategies, Child Eating Difficulties, and Child Body Mass Index (BMI): The Moderating Role of Parental Regulatory Focus

[Speaker] He, Zijing:1
[Co-author] Mu, Yan:1, Zhang, Qing:1, Yu, Yanfei:1
1:Sun Yat-sen University (China (People's Republic of China))

Malnutrition and overnutrition may cause serious diseases in children. Previous research showed children's eating is influenced by parental practices. Present study investigated the relations among parental feeding strategies, children's eating and BMI.

Current survey with 427 Chinese parents of children (aged 3 to 8) found that: (1) parental feeding strategies predicted children's satiety-responsiveness/slowness-in-eating (SRSE) through parents' pressuring to eat. (2) Pressuring strategies mediated the relations between parents' explanation (about benefits of healthy food consumption) and children's SRSE. Such mediation effect was found in children with promotion-focused, but not prevention-focused parents. Also, such mediation effect was found in younger, but not older children. (3) Children's SRSE negatively contributed to their BMI.

Consistent with Taoist wisdoms on interdependence between Yin and Yang, parental explanation, supposed to promote energy intake, might counterproductively result in undesirable pressure, leading to skinny and easy-to-get-full-up children. Present findings also shed light on interventions of youth nutrition problems.
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