Parents use greater pressure to eat with children who weigh less, but the impact of this practice is unclear. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine the association between parental reports of eating pressure and children's actual intake across four identical ad libitum meals. Sixty-eight ethnically diverse, 4- to 6-year-old children from New York, NY, participated in this study from 2005 to 2007. Eating pressure was measured by the Child Feeding Questionnaire. Height and weight were measured and converted to body mass index z scores. Meals consisted of macaroni and cheese, string beans, carrots, grapes, graham crackers, cheese sticks, milk, pudding, and a sugar-sweetened beverage. Multiple regressions were performed to determine the extent to which pressure to eat predicted food intake after adjusting for BMI z score and child weight concern. Pressure to eat was negatively associated with child BMI z score (r=-0.37; P<0.01), energy intake (β=-.30; P<0.05), and energy density (β=-.28; P<0.05). In addition, pressure was negatively associated with intake of macaroni and cheese (β=-.26; P<0.05), whole milk (β=-.27; P<0.05), and pudding (β=-.33; P<0.01), but positively associated with vegetable intake (β=.43; P<0.01). However, both vegetable and milk consumption were low, so results should be interpreted with caution. These findings suggest that greater pressure to eat is associated with lower intake of some high-fat foods in the laboratory, where no pressure is applied.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics