Food parenting practices and their association with child nutrition risk status: comparing mothers and fathers Journal Articles uri icon

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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 [Formula: see text] = –3.45, p = 0.02; father [Formula: see text] = –1.74, p = 0.01), as were their healthy home environment scores (mother [Formula: see text] = –8.36, p < 0.001; father [Formula: see text] = –2.69, p = 0.04). Mothers’ encouragement of balance and variety was associated with lower nutrition risk ([Formula: see text] = –8.88, p = 0.01), whereas mothers’ use of food as a reward was associated with higher nutrition risk ([Formula: see text] = 4.67, p < 0.001). Fathers’ modelling of healthy behaviours was associated with lower nutrition risk ([Formula: see text] = –2.21, p = 0.01), whereas fathers’ restriction for health ([Formula: see text] = 2.21, p = 0.03) and pressure-to-eat scores ([Formula: see text] = 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.


  • Watterworth, Jessica C
  • Hutchinson, Joy M
  • Buchholz, Andrea
  • Darlington, Gerarda
  • Randall Simpson, Janis A
  • Ma, David WL
  • Haines, Jess

publication date

  • June 2017

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