Feeding and Mealtime Correlates of Maternal Concern About Children's Weight

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To examine associations between maternal concern regarding their children becoming overweight and two domains of weight-related parenting; child feeding practices and family meal characteristics.


Cross-sectional study.


Low-income mothers (n = 264; 67% non-Hispanic white) and their children (51.5% male, aged 4.02–8.06 years).

Variables Measured:

Maternal concern and feeding practices, using the Child Feeding Questionnaire. Meal characteristics were assessed using video-recorded meals and meal information collected from mothers.


The authors used MANOVA and logistic regression to identify differences in maternal feeding practices and family meal characteristics across levels of maternal concern (none, some, and high).


Approximately half of mothers were not concerned about their child becoming overweight, 28.4% reported some concern, and 19.0% had high concern. Mothers reporting no concern described lower restrictive feeding compared with mothers who reported some or high concern (mean [SE], none = 3.1 [0.1]; some = 3.5 [0.1]; and high = 3.6 [0.1]; P = .004). No differences in other feeding practices or family meal characteristics were observed by level of concern.

Conclusions and Implications:

Concern regarding children becoming overweight was common. However, concern rarely translated into healthier feeding practices or family meal characteristics. Maternal concern alone may not be sufficient to motivate action to reduce children's risk of obesity.

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