NOTICE: We are experiencing technical issues with Academy members trying to log into the JAND site using Academy member login credentials. We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Alternatively, if you are an Academy member, you can access the JAND site by registering for an Elsevier account and claiming access using the links at the top of the JAND site. Email us at [email protected] for assistance. Thanks for your patience!

Associations between Children's Appetitive Traits and Maternal Feeding Practices


      This study explored associations between child eating behaviors and maternal feeding practices, specifically testing the hypotheses that maternal “restriction” is associated with having a child with stronger food approach tendencies (eg, overresponsiveness to food), and maternal pressure to eat is associated with having a child with food avoidant tendencies (eg, satiety responsiveness). Five-hundred thirty-one families with 7- to 9-year-old children from schools in London, UK, were invited to take part in the Physical Exercise and Appetite in Children Study (PEACHES). Results are from baseline data of this longitudinal study. Of those invited, 405 gave consent for their child to participate (51.6% male; 48% female). Just over half of the mothers (n=213, 53%) completed the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire and the Child Feeding Questionnaire for the index child (mean age: 8.3±0.62 years) during the 2006-2007 school year. Children were weighed and measured at school by trained researchers. As predicted, maternal restriction was associated with child food responsiveness (P<0.001), and maternal pressure to eat was associated with child satiety responsiveness (P<0.001), slowness (P=0.03), and fussiness (P=0.01). Child enjoyment of food was associated with lower maternal pressure to eat (P=0.01). All effects were independent of the child's body mass index standard deviation score and sociodemographic factors. Practitioners may find it useful to take an interactional perspective, acknowledging that children both influence and are influenced by their parents' feeding practices. This will allow the development of targeted interventions and better parental guidance on managing obesogenic eating behaviors in young children.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Wang C.
        • Lobstein T.
        Worldwide trends in childhood overweight and obesity.
        Int J Pediatr Obes. 2006; 1: 11-25
        • Francis L.A.
        • Hofer S.M.
        • Birch L.L.
        Predictors of maternal child-feeding style: Maternal and child characteristics.
        Appetite. 2001; 37: 231-243
        • Faith M.S.
        • Berkowitz R.I.
        • Stallings V.A.
        • Kerns J.
        • Storey M.
        • Stunkard A.J.
        Parental feeding attitudes and styles and child body mass index: Prospective analysis of a gene-environment interaction.
        Pediatrics. 2004; 114: 429-436
        • Wardle J.
        • Sanderson S.
        • Guthrie C.A.
        • Rapoport L.
        • Plomin R.
        Parental feeding style and the intergenerational transmission of obesity risk.
        Obes Res. 2002; 10: 453-462
        • Johnson S.L.
        • Birch L.L.
        Parents and children's adiposity and eating style.
        Pediatrics. 1994; 94: 653-661
        • Fisher J.O.
        • Birch L.
        Restricting access to palatable foods affects children's behavioral response, food selection, and intake.
        Appetite. 1999; 32: 405-419
        • Jansen E.
        • Mulkens S.
        • Emond Y.
        • Jansen A.
        From the Garden of Eden to the land of plenty restriction of fruit and sweets intake leads to increased fruit and sweets consumption in children.
        Appetite. 2008; 51: 570-575
        • Fisher J.O.
        • Birch L.L.
        Restricting access to foods and children's eating.
        Appetite. 1999; 32: 405-419
        • Birch L.L.
        • Fisher J.O.
        • Davison K.K.
        Learning to overeat: Maternal use of restrictive feeding practices promotes girls' eating in the absence of hunger.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2003; 78: 215-220
        • Carper J.L.
        • Fisher J.
        • Birch L.
        Young girls' emerging dietary restraint and disinhibition are related to parental control in child feeding.
        Appetite. 2000; 35: 121
        • Moens E.
        • Braet C.
        • Soetens B.
        Observation of family functioning at mealtime: A comparison between families of children with and without overweight.
        J Pediatr Psychol. 2007; 1: 52-63
        • Mulder C.
        • Kain J.
        • Uauy R.
        • Seidell J.C.
        Maternal attitudes and child-feeding practices: Relationship with the BMI of Chilean children.
        Nutrition. 2009; 13: 8
        • Keller K.L.
        • Pietrobelli A.
        • Johnson S.L.
        • Faith M.S.
        Maternal restriction of children's eating and encouragements to eat as the ‘non-shared environment’: A pilot study using the child feeding questionnaire.
        Int J Obes. 2006; 30: 1670-1675
        • Francis L.A.
        • Birch L.
        Maternal influences on daughters restrained eating behavior.
        Health Psychol. 2005; 24: 548-554
        • Blissett J.
        • Meyer C.
        • Haycraft E.
        Maternal and paternal controlling feeding practices with male and female children.
        Appetite. 2006; 47: 212-219
        • Galloway A.T.
        • Fiorito L.M.
        • Francis L.A.
        • Birch L.L.
        “Finish your soup”: Counterproductive effects of pressuring children to eat on intake and affect.
        Appetite. 2006; 46: 318-323
        • Lumeng J.C.
        • Burke L.M.
        Maternal prompts to eat, child compliance, and mother and child weight status.
        J Pediatr. 2006; 149: 330
        • Powers S.W.
        • Chamberlin L.A.
        • van Schaick K.B.
        • Sherman S.
        • Whitaker R.C.
        Maternal feeding strategies, child eating behaviors, and child BMI in low-income African-American preschoolers.
        Obesity Res. 2006; 14: 2026-2033
        • Carnell S.
        • Wardle J.
        Associations between multiple measures of parental feeding and children's adiposity in United Kingdom preschoolers.
        Obesity. 2007; 15: 137
        • Webber L.
        • Hill C.
        • Cooke L.
        • Carnell S.
        • Wardle J.
        Associations between child weight and maternal feeding styles are mediated by maternal perceptions and concerns.
        Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010; 64: 259-265
        • Campbell K.J.
        • Crawford D.A.
        • Ball K.
        Family food environment and dietary behaviors likely to promote fatness in 5-6 year-old children.
        Int J Obes. 2006; 30: 1272-1280
        • Fisher J.O.
        • Mitchell D.C.
        • Smiciklas-Wright H.
        • Birch L.L.
        Parental influences on young girls' fruit and vegetable, micronutrient, and fat intakes.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2002; 102: 58-64
        • Iannotti R.J.
        • Obrien R.W.
        • Spillman D.M.
        Parental and peer influences on food-consumption of preschool African-American children.
        Percept Motor Skill. 1994; 79: 747-752
        • Klesges R.C.
        Parental influences on children's eating behavior and relative weight.
        J Appl Behav Anal. 1983; 16: 371
        • Koivisto U.K.
        • Fellenius J.
        • Sjoden P.O.
        Relations between parental mealtime practices and childrens food-intake.
        Appetite. 1994; 22: 245-257
        • Orrell-Valente J.K.
        • Hill L.G.
        • Brechwald W.A.
        • Dodge K.A.
        • Pettit G.S.
        • Bates J.E.
        “Just three more bites”: An observational analysis of parents' socialization of children's eating at mealtime.
        Appetite. 2007; 48: 37-45
        • Drucker R.R.
        • Hammer L.D.
        • Agras W.S.
        • Bryson S.
        Can mothers influence their child's eating behavior?.
        J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1999; 20: 88-92
        • Carruth B.R.
        The phenomenon of a picky eater: A behavioral marker in eating patterns of toddlers.
        J Am Coll Nutr. 1998; 17: 180
        • Wardle J.
        • Carnell S.
        • Cooke L.
        Parental control over feeding and children's fruit and vegetable intake: How are they related?.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2005; 105: 227-232
        • Farrow C.V.
        • Galloway A.T.
        • Fraser K.
        Sibling eating behaviours and differential child feeding practices reported by parents.
        Appetite. 2009; 52: 307-312
        • Epstein S.
        Aggregation and beyond—Some basic issues on the prediction of behavior.
        J Pers. 1983; 51: 360-392
        • Cole T.
        ImsGrowth macro.
        (Accessed August 1, 2009)
        • Wardle J.
        • Guthrie C.A.
        • Sanderson S.
        • Rapoport L.
        Development of the children's eating behaviour questionnaire.
        J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2001; 42: 963-970
        • Carnell S.
        • Wardle J.
        Measuring behavioural susceptibility to obesity: Validation of the child eating behaviour questionnaire.
        Appetite. 2007; 48: 104-113
        • Carnell S.
        • Wardle J.
        Appetite and adiposity in children: Evidence for a behavioral susceptibility theory of obesity.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 88: 22-29
        • Viana V.
        • Sinde S.
        • Saxton J.C.
        Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire: Associations with BMI in Portuguese children.
        Br J Nutr. 2008; : 1-6
        • Webber L.
        • Hill C.
        • Saxton J.
        • Van Jaarsveld H.
        • Wardle J.
        Eating behaviour and weight in children.
        Int J Obes. 2009; 33: 21-28
        • Birch L.L.
        • Fisher J.O.
        • Grimm-Thomas K.
        • Markey C.N.
        • Sawyer R.
        • Johnson S.L.
        Confirmatory factor analysis of the Child Feeding Questionnaire: A measure of parental attitudes, beliefs and practices about child feeding and obesity proneness.
        Appetite. 2001; 36: 201-210
        • Geng G.
        • Zhu Z.
        • Suzuki K.
        • Tanaka T.
        • Ando D.
        • Sato M.
        • Yamagata Z.
        Confirmatory factor analysis of the CFQ in Japanese elementary school children.
        Appetite. 2008; 52: 8-14
        • Tabachnick B.G.
        • Fidell L.S.
        Using Multivariate Statistics.
        3rd ed. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY1996
        • Office for National Statistics
        The UK population by ethnic group.
        (Accessed August 1, 2009)
        • Department for Children, Schools and Families
        Level of highest qualification held by people of working age in England.
        (Accessed August 1, 2009)
        • Galloway A.T.
        • Fiorito L.
        • Lee Y.
        • Birch L.L.
        Parental pressure, dietary patterns, and weight status among girls who are “picky eaters.”.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2005; 105: 541-548
        • Rhee K.E.
        • Coleman S.M.
        • Appugliese D.P.
        • Kaciroti N.A.
        • Corwyn R.F.
        • Davidson N.S.
        • Bradley R.H.
        • Lumeng J.C.
        Maternal feeding practices become more controlling after and not before excessive rates of weight gain.
        Obesity. 2009; 17: 1724-1729
        • Moore S.N.
        • Tapper K.
        • Murphy S.
        Feeding strategies used by mothers of 3-5-year-old children.
        Appetite. 2007; 49: 704-707
        • Zehle K.
        • Wen L.M.
        • Orr N.
        • Rissel C.
        “It's not an issue at the moment”—A qualitative study of mothers about childhood obesity.
        MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2007; 32: 36-41
      1. Webber L, Cooke L, Wardle J. Maternal perception of causes and consequences of sibling differences in eating behavior [published online ahead of print August 18, 2010]. Eur J Clin Nutr. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.159.

        • Carnell S.
        • Haworth C.M.
        • Plomin R.
        • Wardle J.
        Genetic influence on appetite in children.
        Int J Obes. 2008; 32: 1468-1473
        • Cooke L.J.
        • Haworth C.
        • Wardle J.
        Genetic and environmental influences on children's food neophobia.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 86: 428-433
        • Fisher J.O.
        • Cai G.W.
        • Jaramillo S.J.
        • Cole S.A.
        • Comuzzie A.G.
        • Butte N.F.
        Heritability of hyperphagic eating behavior and appetite-related hormones among Hispanic children.
        Obesity. 2007; 15: 1484-1495
        • Llewellyn C.H.
        • van Jaarsveld C.H.M.
        • Boniface D.
        • Carnell S.
        • Wardle J.
        Eating rate is a heritable phenotype related to weight in children.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 88: 1560-1566
        • Anderson C.B.
        • Hughes S.O.
        • Fisher J.O.
        • Nicklas T.A.
        Cross-cultural equivalence of feeding beliefs and practices: The psychometric properties of the child feeding questionnaire among Blacks and Hispanics.
        Prev Med. 2005; 41: 521-531


      L. Webber is a doctoral student, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.


      L. Cooke is a senior research associate, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.


      J. Wardle is director, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.


      C. Hill is a research fellow, Department of Psychology, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK.