Maternal encouragement and discouragement_2016.pdf

Childhood obesity prevention practice guidelines recommend that parents encourage the intake of
certain types of foods and discourage the intake of others. It is unknown if parents of children of different
weight statuses encourage or discourage their child's intake differently based on food type. The objective
of this study was to determine the association of child weight status with maternal encouragement and
discouragement of for four different types of food. A total of 222 mother-child dyads were video-taped
during the standardized, sequential presentation of four foods to both participants: cupcakes (familiar
dessert), green beans (familiar vegetable), halva (unfamiliar dessert) and artichoke (unfamiliar vegetable).
Mother's encouragements and discouragements of child intake were reliably coded for each food
type. Poisson regression models were used to test the independent association of child weight status
(normal weight, overweight and obese) with encouragement and discouragement for each food type.
Mothers of an obese, vs. normal or overweight child, had lower rates of encouragement for a familiar
dessert (p ¼ 0.02), and a higher rates of discouragements for a familiar dessert (p ¼ 0.001), a familiar
vegetable (p ¼ 0.01), and an unfamiliar vegetable (p ¼ 0.001). There were no differences in encouragements
or discouragements between mothers of an overweight, vs. obese child, for any of the 4 food
types. Mothers of obese children may alter their feeding behavior differentially based on food type.
Future work should examine how interventions promoting maternal encouragement or discouragement
of different food types impact child weight status.