Objective The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children is on the rise worldwide. Prior studies find that parents’ child-feeding practices are associated with child weight status and the efficacy of specific parental child-feeding practices can be moderated by parenting styles. In the current longitudinal study, we examined the associations between child-feeding practices and weight status changes over 1 year among a sample of school-aged children in Taiwan.
Design In autumn 2008, a child-feeding questionnaire and parenting-style questionnaire were administered to parents of the second and fourth graders in an elementary school in Taiwan. The weight and height of the students were measured by a trained school nurse in 2008 and again in 2009.
Setting An elementary school in central Taiwan.
Subjects A total of 465 parent–child pairs were included in the analysis.
Results Using a gender- and age-adjusted BMI classification scheme issued by the Taiwan Department of Health, 29·2 % of the students were considered overweight at the 2009 measurement. Controlling for 2008 weight status revealed moderating effects of parenting style on the relationship between child-feeding practices and child weight status. Both authoritative and authoritarian mothers might monitor their children's dietary intake; however, the effectiveness of this practice was better, in terms of weight status control, among the authoritative mothers.
Conclusions Findings suggest that parenting styles have a moderating effect on specific parental child-feeding practices. Parenting styles and parent's feeding practices could be an important focus for future public health interventions addressing the rising childhood obesity epidemic.