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Feeding practices of low-income mothers: how do they compare to current recommendations?

Power TG, Hughes SO, Goodell LS, Johnson SL, Duran JA, Williams K, Beck AD, Frankel LA - Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act (2015)

Bottom Line: Latina mothers showed higher levels of teaching eating skills and encouraging their children to eat; African American mothers showed higher levels of enforcing table manners and getting children to clear their plates.Mothers of boys used more unelaborated commands and less questions/suggestions than mothers of girls.They did this, despite the fact that they knew they were being observed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. tompower@wsu.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Despite a growing consensus on the feeding practices associated with healthy eating patterns, few observational studies of maternal feeding practices with young children have been conducted, especially in low-income populations. The aim of this study was to provide such data on a low income sample to determine the degree to which observed maternal feeding practices compare with current recommendations.

Methods: Eighty low-income mothers and their preschool children were videotaped at dinner in their homes. Mothers were chosen from a larger study to create a 2 X 2 X 2 design: maternal ethnicity (African American vs. Latina) by child gender by child weight status (healthy weight vs. overweight/obese). Observers coded videotapes for a range of maternal feeding strategies and other behaviors.

Results: Many mothers spent considerable time encouraging eating--often in spite of the child's insistence that he or she was finished. Mothers talked little about food characteristics, rarely referred to feelings of hunger and fullness, and made more attempts to enforce table manners than to teach eating skills. Latina mothers showed higher levels of teaching eating skills and encouraging their children to eat; African American mothers showed higher levels of enforcing table manners and getting children to clear their plates. Mothers of boys used more unelaborated commands and less questions/suggestions than mothers of girls. Finally, compared to mothers of overweight/obese children, mothers of healthy weight children showed higher levels of encouraging eating and lower levels of discouraging eating.

Conclusions: Most of the mothers in this study did not engage in feeding practices that are consistent with current recommendations. They did this, despite the fact that they knew they were being observed. These results should be used to inform future research about the motivations behind mothers' feeding practices and the development of interventions by helping identify areas in greatest need of change.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Flow chart representing videotape coding process.
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Fig1: Flow chart representing videotape coding process.

Mentions: Employing event coding, all maternal and child verbalizations, along with a number of nonverbal behaviors, were coded with a system adapted from Baumrind and Black [44] and Cousins, Power, and Olvera [45]. The codes were mutually exclusive and exhaustive. They were developed by expanding on the systems used in these previous studies through examination and discussion of pilot videotapes. Data from only the maternal verbalizations and nonverbal behaviors are presented in the current paper (child verbalizations were not analyzed). As illustrated in FigureĀ 1, all maternal attempts to influence child behavior and child attempts to influence maternal behavior were coded, along with all other verbalizations between mother and child. The maternal behaviors coded included positive strategies representative of responsive feeding practices, as well as controlling feeding strategies.Figure 1


Feeding practices of low-income mothers: how do they compare to current recommendations?

Power TG, Hughes SO, Goodell LS, Johnson SL, Duran JA, Williams K, Beck AD, Frankel LA - Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act (2015)

Flow chart representing videotape coding process.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4363190&req=5

Fig1: Flow chart representing videotape coding process.
Mentions: Employing event coding, all maternal and child verbalizations, along with a number of nonverbal behaviors, were coded with a system adapted from Baumrind and Black [44] and Cousins, Power, and Olvera [45]. The codes were mutually exclusive and exhaustive. They were developed by expanding on the systems used in these previous studies through examination and discussion of pilot videotapes. Data from only the maternal verbalizations and nonverbal behaviors are presented in the current paper (child verbalizations were not analyzed). As illustrated in FigureĀ 1, all maternal attempts to influence child behavior and child attempts to influence maternal behavior were coded, along with all other verbalizations between mother and child. The maternal behaviors coded included positive strategies representative of responsive feeding practices, as well as controlling feeding strategies.Figure 1

Bottom Line: Latina mothers showed higher levels of teaching eating skills and encouraging their children to eat; African American mothers showed higher levels of enforcing table manners and getting children to clear their plates.Mothers of boys used more unelaborated commands and less questions/suggestions than mothers of girls.They did this, despite the fact that they knew they were being observed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. tompower@wsu.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Despite a growing consensus on the feeding practices associated with healthy eating patterns, few observational studies of maternal feeding practices with young children have been conducted, especially in low-income populations. The aim of this study was to provide such data on a low income sample to determine the degree to which observed maternal feeding practices compare with current recommendations.

Methods: Eighty low-income mothers and their preschool children were videotaped at dinner in their homes. Mothers were chosen from a larger study to create a 2 X 2 X 2 design: maternal ethnicity (African American vs. Latina) by child gender by child weight status (healthy weight vs. overweight/obese). Observers coded videotapes for a range of maternal feeding strategies and other behaviors.

Results: Many mothers spent considerable time encouraging eating--often in spite of the child's insistence that he or she was finished. Mothers talked little about food characteristics, rarely referred to feelings of hunger and fullness, and made more attempts to enforce table manners than to teach eating skills. Latina mothers showed higher levels of teaching eating skills and encouraging their children to eat; African American mothers showed higher levels of enforcing table manners and getting children to clear their plates. Mothers of boys used more unelaborated commands and less questions/suggestions than mothers of girls. Finally, compared to mothers of overweight/obese children, mothers of healthy weight children showed higher levels of encouraging eating and lower levels of discouraging eating.

Conclusions: Most of the mothers in this study did not engage in feeding practices that are consistent with current recommendations. They did this, despite the fact that they knew they were being observed. These results should be used to inform future research about the motivations behind mothers' feeding practices and the development of interventions by helping identify areas in greatest need of change.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus