Maternal-child feeding patterns and child body weight: Findings from a population-based sample

Myles S. Faith, Stanley Heshka, Kathleen L. Keller, Bettylou Sherry, Patty E. Matz, Angelo Pietrobelli, David B. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Background: Certain mother-child feeding patterns (MCFPs) may promote childhood obesity and/or disordered eating. Objectives: To assess the demographic correlates of MCFPs and to test whether differences in MCFPs are associated with child body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) z scores in a population-based study. Design: A secondary analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth main and child cohorts was conducted on more than 1000 Hispanic, African American, and non-Hispanic/non-African American children, aged 3 to 6 years. The MCFPs were measured by means of 3 interview questions probing mother-allotted child food choice, child compliance during meals, and child obedience during meals. Results: Mothers of non-Hispanic/non-African American children allotted greater food choice than mothers of African American or Hispanic children. Maternal BMI and other demographic measures were unrelated to MCFPs. The lowest levels of mother-allotted child food choice and child eating compliance were associated with reduced child BMI, with mean BMI z scores of -0.36 and -0.41, respectively. Effect sizes were small, however, and MCFPs did not discriminate children who were overweight or at risk for being overweight from children who were not (P>.05). Conclusions: Feeding strategies providing the least child food choice were associated with reduced child BMI. However, MCFPs did not relate to child overweight status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-932
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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