Maternal concerns about children overeating among low-income children_2016.pdf

Addressing overeating is essential to obesity treatment and prevention. The objectives of this study were to investigate
maternal concern for child overeating, to identify associated participant characteristics and to determine
if concern for child overeating is associated with maternal feeding practices. Low-income mothers (N =
289) of children (mean age 70.8 months) participated in a semi-structured interview. Themes of maternal concern
for child overeating were identified and a coding scheme was reliably applied. Maternal feeding practices
were measured by questionnaire and videotaped eating interactions. Logistic regressions were used to test the
associations of participant characteristics with the presence of each theme, and bivariate analyses were used to
test the associations of the presence of each theme with feeding practices. Three themes were identified:
1)mothersworry that their child does overeat, 2) mothers acknowledge that their child may overeat but indicate
that it is not problematic because they manage their child's eating behavior, and 3) mothers acknowledge that
their child may overeat but indicate that it is not problematic because of characteristics inherent to the child.
Child obesity predicted the themes; mothers of obese and overweight children are more likely to be concerned
about overeating. Themes were associated with lower levels of observed pressure to eat. Only Theme 2 was
associated with greater restrictive feeding practices. Interventions that provide parents' practical, healthy ways
to prevent child overeating may be helpful.