Controlling Maternal Feeding Practices Associated with Decreased Dieting Behavior in Sixth-Grade Children

Kyung E. Rhee, Danielle P. Appugliese, Alicia Prisco, Niko A. Kaciroti, Robert F. Corwyn, Robert H. Bradley, Julie C. Lumeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Controlling maternal feeding practices have been linked to increased caloric intake, disinhibited eating, and obesity in children. Its relationship to child dieting behavior, however, is unknown. Using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, this study examined whether controlling feeding practices are associated with increased or decreased dieting behavior in children. Controlling maternal feeding practices were assessed in third grade with the question, "Do you let your child eat what he/she feels like eating?" Answers ranged from 1 to 4; higher scores were reverse-coded to indicate greater control. Child dieting behavior was assessed in sixth grade and dichotomized into "any dieting behaviors" vs "none." Multiple logistic regression was used to investigate the relationship between controlling maternal feeding practices and dieting behavior and included the covariates of sex, race, maternal education, maternal weight status, child weight status in third grade, and change in body mass index z score between third and sixth grade. In sixth grade (n=776), 41.5% of children engaged in dieting behavior. In the multivariate analysis, greater maternal control over child eating predicted lower odds of child dieting in sixth grade (odds ratio=0.79; 95% confidence interval: 0.64 to 0.97). There was no interaction between controlling maternal feeding practices and child's sex or baseline obesity status. Exerting more control over what a child eats in third grade may protect against future dieting behavior in children, independent of child's weight status or rate of weight gain. Further work is needed to better define which controlling feeding practices are beneficial for the child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-623
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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