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Food parenting practices and their association with child nutrition risk status: comparing mothers and fathers

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In Canada, little is known about how food parenting practices are associated with young children’s dietary intakes and no studies have examined food parenting practices of Canadian fathers. This study aimed to examine associations between food parenting practices and preschool-age children’s nutrition risk. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of thirty-one 2-parent families; 31 mothers, 31 fathers, and 40 preschool-age children. Parents completed an adapted version of the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire. We calculated children’s nutrition risk using their NutriSTEP score. To account for sibling association, we used generalized estimating equations, adjusting for child age, sex, household income, and parental body mass index. Both mothers’ and fathers’ involvement of children in meal preparation were associated with lower child nutrition risk (mother β ^ = –3.45, p = 0.02; father β^ = –1.74, p = 0.01), as were their healthy home environment scores (mother β^ = –8.36, p < 0.001; father β^ = –2.69, p = 0.04). Mothers’ encouragement of balance and variety was associated with lower nutrition risk (β^ = –8.88, p = 0.01), whereas mothers’ use of food as a reward was associated with higher nutrition risk (β^ = 4.67, p < 0.001). Fathers’ modelling of healthy behaviours was associated with lower nutrition risk (β^ = –2.21, p = 0.01), whereas fathers’ restriction for health (β^ = 2.21, p = 0.03) and pressure-to-eat scores (β^ = 3.26, p = <0.001) were associated with higher nutrition risk. No associations were found between child nutrition status and parental emotion regulation, control, monitoring, or restriction for weight. In conclusion, both mothers’ and fathers’ food parenting practices are associated with their children’s nutrition status. Fathers should be included in food parenting practices interventions.
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Keywords: child; enfant; father; food parenting practices; nutrition status; parent; pratiques alimentaires parentales; père; statut nutritionnel

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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