Uninvolved Maternal Feeding Style Moderates the Association of Emotional Overeating to Preschoolers' Body Mass Indexz-Scores

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the relation between preschoolers' eating behaviors and body mass index (BMI) z-scores (BMIz) and the moderating role of permissive parent feeding styles in these associations.

Design:

Cross-sectional study involving mothers' report of food-related parenting styles and child eating behaviors.

Setting:

Small city in southern Mississippi.

Participants:

Mother–preschooler dyads (n = 104).

Main Outcome Measure:

Child body BMIz.

Analysis:

Moderated multiple regression.

Results:

An uninvolved feeding style moderated the relationship between emotional eating and BMIz such that children with higher emotional overeating scores had higher a BMIz in the presence of an uninvolved feeding style (B = 2.16; P = .01).

Conclusions and Implications:

An uninvolved feeding style may be a risk factor for higher BMIz in preschoolers who tend to overeat to cope with negative emotions. For other children in this population, self-regulatory aspects of eating may be more important than mothers' feeding style in the maintenance of healthy weight.

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