Associations of parental feeding styles with child snacking behaviour and weight in the context of general parenting

G. Rodenburg*, S.P.J. Kremers, A. Oenema, D. van de Mheen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To examine cross-sectional and longitudinal (one-year follow- associations of parental feeding styles with child snacking behaviour in the context of general parenting, taking into account the of the controlling feeding style. DESIGN: Linear regression analyses performed. Parents completed a questionnaire to measure five feeding dimensions (Instrumental Feeding, Emotional Feeding, Encouragement, and Covert Control) and children's fruit, energy-dense snack and sugar- beverage (SSB) intakes. Children's height and weight were measured to their BMI Z-scores. Moderation by parenting style was tested by adding interaction terms to the regression analyses. SETTING: Observational Netherlands. SUBJECTS: Parent-child dyads (n 1275) participating in the (IVO Nutrition and Physical Activity Child cohorT) study; children were average) 9 years of age. RESULTS: Instrumental Feeding and Emotional negatively related to child fruit intake one year later and positively (changes in) child energy-dense snack intake. Encouragement was related to child energy-dense snacking and SSB intake one year later. Control was cross-sectionally and prospectively related to (changes in) energy-dense snacking and SSB intake in a negative direction. Covert showed similar associations with child energy-dense snacking and SSB Overt Control. Although Covert Control was also positively related to intake and (changes in) child BMI Z-score, bootstrapping analyses differential effect of Overt Control and Covert Control on child BMI Z- year later, with Covert Control displaying a stronger, positive Moderation analyses showed that some significant associations between feeding styles and outcome measures were dependent on the degree of control and behavioural control. CONCLUSIONS: Instrumental Feeding and Feeding may have a detrimental impact on children's snacking behaviour, Encouragement, Overt Control and Covert Control may lead to less energy- snacking and less SSB intake. Overt Control and Covert Control have effects on child BMI Z-score one year later, which supports the idea should be treated as separate constructs. Prospective studies with a follow-up may elucidate the causal pathways between the various feeding and children's snacking behaviour and weight, as well as the moderating influences of psychological and behavioural control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-969
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Parental feeding styles
  • Child BMI
  • Child snack intake
  • Parenting style

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