Maternal predictors of preschool child-eating behaviours, food intake and body mass index : a prospective study
RESEARCHED BYDaniela Dell'Aquila
This study extends McPhie et al. (2011)’s [Maternal correlates of preschool child eating behaviours and body mass index: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, Early Online, 1–5.] McPhie et al. (2011)’s cross-sectional research, by prospectively evaluating maternal child-feeding practices, parenting style and mother–child interactions as predictors of child-eating behaviours, food habits and weight. A sample of 117 mothers of preschoolers (63 girls, 54 boys) participated at two time-points, Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2), 12 months apart. Results from the two path models revealed maternal pressure to eat at T1 positively predicted change in child enjoyment of food. Maternal warmth at T1 negatively predicted child unhealthy food habits at T2. At T1, family income and maternal control negatively predicted change in child body mass index z-scores (BMIz); maternal pressure to eat at T1 also positively predicted change in child BMIz. There were significant results specific to each model. Both final path models provided an adequate fit. Our findings suggest childhood obesity is predicted by a complex interplay of demographic, maternal and child variables.