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Parental control and overconsumption of snack foods in overweight and obese children.

  • Author(s): Liang, June;
  • Matheson, Brittany E;
  • Rhee, Kyung E;
  • Peterson, Carol B;
  • Rydell, Sarah;
  • Boutelle, Kerri N
  • et al.

The associations between snack food consumption, parent feeding practices and general parenting in overweight in obese children are largely unknown. Therefore, we examined these relationships in 117 treatment-seeking overweight and obese children (10.40 ± 1.35 years; 53% female; 52% Caucasian; BMI-z: 2.06 ± .39). Children consumed a dinner meal, completed an Eating in the Absence of Hunger (EAH) free access paradigm (total EAH intake = EAH%-total; sweet food intake = EAH%-sweet), and completed the Child Report of Parent Behavior Inventory. Parents completed the Child Feeding Questionnaire. Child EAH%-total and EAH%-sweet were positively associated with dinner consumption (p's < .01). Girls had significantly higher EAH%-total compared to boys (p < .05). In separate models, higher EAH%-total was associated with greater use of maternal psychological control (p < .05) and EAH%-sweet was positively associated with parent monitoring (p < .05). In analyses examining factors associated with the consumption of specific foods, EAH snack food, parent restriction, pressure to eat, monitoring, and maternal psychological control were positively correlated with intake of Hershey's(®) chocolate bars (p's < .05). In summary, parental monitoring is associated with child sweet snack food intake and maternal psychological control is associated with child total snack food consumption. Future research should evaluate the complex relationship between child eating and parenting, especially with regard to subgroups of foods.

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