Parenting and Feeding Behaviors Associated With School-Aged African American and White Children

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Western Journal of Nursing Research

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Pediatric obesity is multifactorial and difficult to treat. Parenting and feeding behaviors have been shown to influence a child’s weight status. Most prior studies have focused on preschool-aged White children. Additional complicating factors include parents’ inability to accurately identify their child’s abnormal weight status. Parenting and feeding behaviors used by 176 African American and White parents of school-age children were examined. Assessment included (a) identifying what behaviors were reported when parent expressed concern with child’s weight and (b) the relationship of these behaviors on child’s body mass index percentile (BMI%), considering ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and parent’s body mass index (BMI). Findings included African American parents and parents concerned about their child’s weight exhibited increased controlling/authoritarian parenting and feeding behaviors. Parents were able to accurately identify their child’s weight status. Parenting and feeding behaviors played a significant role in the children’s BMI% even when controlling for ethnicity, SES, and parent’s BMI.


Western Journal of Nursing Research, Vol. 64, No. 5 (August 2012): 677-696. DOI.