New paper: Parental feeding practices and parental involvement in child feeding in Denmark: gender differences and predictors

Little is known about fathers’ involvement in child feeding and their feeding practices. To fill this gap, Kaat Philippe (ESR7) and her colleagues at INRAE (France) and the MAPP centre (Denmark) conducted a study.  They asked 582 mothers and fathers of Danish pre-schoolers to complete an online survey. With this information, Kaat and her colleagues examined possible differences between Danish mothers and fathers with regard to their feeding practices and involvement in feeding-related tasks, and assessed possible predictors of these practices and involvement.

Their results first revealed that both mothers and fathers in Denmark reported to be highly involved in different feeding-related tasks (planning meals, grocery shopping, cooking, eating with child).

Furthermore, they found gender differences in the use of feeding practices. Fathers used higher levels of coercive control practices (e.g., pressuring to eat, using food rewards, regulating emotions with food), while mothers used higher levels of structure and autonomy support practices (e.g., modelling healthy eating).

They also found that parents who were more concerned about the child’s weight and focused more on children’s preferences when buying food, used higher levels of coercive control practices. By contrast, parents who focused more on children’s long-term health when buying food, who had more confidence in their cooking and feeding skills, and had a higher perceived responsibility for feeding, used higher levels of structure and autonomy support practices.

The results of this study highlighted the importance of including fathers in studies about child feeding. Their results provided valuable insight into maternal and paternal feeding practices in Denmark and their determinants. Together with future research, they can be of interest for interventions and guidance for parents to create an optimal eating environment for children, emphasizing the relevance of using structure and autonomy support practices and the counter-productive impact of coercive practices.

The paper is published in Appetite:

Philippe, K., Chabanet, C., Issanchou, S., Grønhøj, A., Aschemann-Witzel, J., & Monnery-Patris, S. (2022). Parental feeding practices and parental involvement in child feeding in Denmark: gender differences and predictors. Appetite, 170, 105876. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2021.105876

 

 

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