Low‐income mothers' feeding goals predict observed home mealtime and child feeding practices_2016.pdf

Abstract
Background Mothers’ goals are important for health behavior change, and engagement in child
obesity interventions. It is unknown if maternal feeding goals are associated with observed home
mealtime or feeding practices. The objective of this study was to examine the association of four
common feeding goals (restrict junk food, promote fruit or vegetable intake, promote autonomy in
eating and prevent obesity) with mothers’ observed home mealtime and feeding practices.
Methods Low-income mothers (N = 265) of children (mean child age 70.8months) participated in a
semi-structured interview about child feeding. A coding scheme was developed and reliably applied
to identify mothers’ feeding goals from transcripts. Mothers’ observed home mealtime and feeding
practices were reliably coded from home mealtimes and a laboratory eating protocol. Mothers
completed a questionnaire and reported demographics. Participant weights and heights were
obtained. Regression models were used to test the association of each feeding goal with observed
maternal practices, controlling for covariates.
Results The goal of restricting junk food was associated with the child always eating at a table (OR
2.87, 95% CI (1.39–5.96) p = 0.005), but not with the mother restricting junk food. The goal of
promoting fruit or vegetable intake was associated with observationally promoting vegetables (OR
1.41, 95% CI (1.09–1.84), p = 0.01). The goals of promoting autonomy and preventing obesity were
not associated with any observed maternal home mealtime or feeding practices.
Conclusions While mothers’ goals to restrict junk food and promote fruit or vegetable intake were
associated with observed home mealtime and feeding practices, promoting autonomy and
preventing obesity were not. Increased understanding of why low-income mothers may not
translate certain feeding goals into practices may inform childhood obesity interventions.