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Father Involvement in Feeding Interactions with Their Young Children



To examine the associations of father-child feeding and physical interactions with dietary practices and weight status in children.


A nationally representative sample of children, mothers, and fathers who participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth cohort study (N = 2441) was used to explore the relationship of father-child feeding and physical activity interactions with child dietary practices and weight status. Logistic multivariable regression analyses were adjusted for child, father, mother, and socio-demographic characteristics.


Approximately 40% of fathers reported having a great deal of influence on their preschool child's nutrition and about 50% reported daily involvement in preparing food for their child and assisting their child with eating. Children had over 2 times the odds of consuming fast food at least once a week if fathers reported eating out with their child a few times a week compared to fathers who reported rarely or never eating out with their child (OR, 2.89; 95% CI, 1.94-4.29), adjusting for all covariates. Whether fathers reported eating out with their children was also significantly associated with children's sweetened beverage intake.


Potentially modifiable behaviors that support healthy dietary practices in children may be supported by targeting fathers.

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