Predictors of obesity and overweight in preschoolers: The role of parenting styles and feeding practices
Abstract Childhood obesity/overweight (OB/OW) displayed a rapid increase and high prevalence in the last few decades in preschool-aged children, which raised health concerns across the world and motivated researchers to investigate the factors that underlie childhood obesity. The current study examined parenting styles and child-feeding practices as potential predictors for OB/OW in preschool children, controlling for child's temperament, which has been shown to be linked with OB/OW. The sample included 61 normal weight (NW) and 61 obese/overweight (OB/OW) Turkish pre-schoolers ( M age = 62. 62.2 months; SD = 7.64, range = 45–80 months). Parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative), child-feeding practices (restriction, pressure to eat, monitoring), and child's temperament (negative affectivity) were measured with mothers' reports. Results showed that authoritarian parenting and maternal pressure to eat were the two parenting variables that significantly predicted child's weight status; the odds of being OB/OW was 4.71 times higher in children whose mothers used higher authoritarian parenting style, and was 0.44 times lower when mothers pressured their child to eat. These findings suggest that understanding the unique role of different aspects of parenting in the risk of early OB/OW status of children would be important in developing more effective interventions from early years in life.
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