The association of parenting practices with toddlers' dietary intake and BMI, and the moderating role of general parenting and child temperament

Jessica S. Gubbels*, Sanne M. P. L. Gerards, Stef P. J. Kremers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: The objective was to examine the association between parenting practices, toddler's dietary intake and BMI. In addition, potential moderation of these associations by general parenting and child temperament was examined. Design: The current cross-sectional study assessed parenting practices using the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire, general parenting using the Comprehensive General Parenting Questionnaire, child temperament using the Child Behavior Check List, and children's dietary intake through parental questionnaires. Children's weight and length were objectively measured to determine BMIz-scores. Associations were examined using multiple linear regression analyses. Moderation was examined using interaction terms. Setting: Home setting. Participants: 393 Dutch toddlers (age 1-3 years) and their parents recruited through fifty childcare centres and preschools in the Netherlands. Results: Various practices were related to children's diet and BMI. For instance, the availability of healthy foods is the most important predictor of healthy dietary intake (e.g.beta= -0 center dot 35 for sweets;beta= 0 center dot 18 for fruit). The association of availability with a healthier diet was strongest when parents scored low on the positive parenting style dimensions, including nurturance, structure and/or behavioural control. In addition, it seemed that a high availability of healthy foods and low availability of unhealthy foods is especially beneficial for children showing withdrawal/depressive, anxious or overactive behaviour, while encouraging balance and variety is not beneficial for these children. All other practices were related to children's diet and/or BMI as well. Conclusions: The findings underline the importance of viewing the impact of parenting practices in the context of general parenting and child temperament.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136898002000021
Pages (from-to)2521-2529
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Parenting practices
  • Feeding practices
  • General parenting
  • Temperament
  • Dietary intake
  • BMI
  • Overweight
  • FOOD

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