The Parent Mealtime Action Scale (PMAS). Development and association with children's diet and weight

Helen M. Hendy, Keith E. Williams, Thomas S. Camise, Nicholas Eckman, Amber Hedemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


A new and comprehensive Parent Mealtime Action Scale (PMAS) was developed to identify dimensions of mealtime behaviors used by parents, then examined for its usefulness to explain variance in children's diet and weight status. Exploratory factor analysis with 2008 mothers and two confirmatory factor analyses with 541 mothers and 439 fathers produced a 31-item scale with nine dimensions. Mothers reported more gentle PMAS actions like setting SNACK LIMITS, ensuring DAILY FV AVAILABILITY, and using FAT REDUCTION and POSITIVE PERSUASION during meals, whereas fathers reported more forceful PMAS actions like INSISTENCE ON EATING. Seven PMAS dimensions explained variance in children's diet and weight status even when in competition with three well-known predictors (genetic risk, exercise, television). Children with healthier diets and weight had parents who often ensured DAILY FV AVAILABILITY and used FAT REDUCTION, POSITIVE PERSUASION, and INSISTENCE ON EATING during meals, but who rarely showed SNACK MODELING, allowed children too MANY FOOD CHOICES, or made them SPECIAL MEALS different from the shared family meal. Parents also may respond to children's overweight by using more FAT REDUCTION. The PMAS offers a new research, clinical, and educational tool to guide parents in actions most associated with children's diet and weight status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-339
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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