Feeding Correlates of Maternal Concern


Research Article

Feeding and Mealtime Correlates of Maternal Concern About Children’s WeightJacqueline M. Branch, MD1; Danielle P. Appugliese, MPH2; Katherine L. Rosenblum, PhD3,4; Alison L. Miller, PhD4,5; Julie C. Lumeng, MD1,4,6; Katherine W. Bauer, PhD6


1Departm School, 2 Appugl 3Departm 4Center 5 Departm Public H 6Departm Arbor, M Conflict o with thi Address Develop MI 4810 �2017 S reserved http://dx



Objective: To examine associations between maternal concern regarding their children becoming overweight and two domains of weight-related parenting; child feeding practices and family meal charac- teristics. Design: Cross-sectional study. Participants: Low-income mothers (n ¼ 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. Analysis: 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). Results: 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 ¼ 3.1 [0.1]; some ¼ 3.5 [0.1]; and high ¼ 3.6 [0.1]; P ¼ .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. Key Words: childhood obesity, maternal concern, feeding practices, family meals (J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017;49:490-496.)

Accepted March 16, 2017. Published online April 28, 2017.


Despite the heightened attention to childhood obesity over the pastdecade, several studies documented that only a limited proportion ofparents recognize that their children are overweight, and

ent of Pediatrics and Communicable Ann Arbor, MI iese Professional Advisors, North Easto ent of Psychiatry, University of Mich

for Human Growth and Development ent of Health Behavior and Health Ed ealth, Ann Arbor, MI ent of Nutritional Sciences, University I f Interest Disclosure: The authors’ confli s article on www.jneb.org. for correspondence: Jacqueline M. Bra ment, 300 North Ingalls Bldg, Rm 1024 9; Phone: (716) 785-2244; Fax: (734) 93 ociety for Nutrition Education and Beh . .doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2017.03.011

relatively few parents reported concern about their children’s current weight or future risk of becoming overweight.1-6

Parents of young children and lower socioeconomic status in particular reported less concern about their children’s current or future risk of overweight than did

Diseases, University of Michigan Medical

n, MA igan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI ucation, University of Michigan School of

of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann

ct of interest disclosures can be found online

nch, MD, Center for Human Growth and NW, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 6-6897; E-mail: jmbranch@umich.edu avior.