Childhood overweight is associated with a host of negative health outcomes. It is well appreciated that a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors contributes to the energy imbalance that fundamentally underlies this state. Children with poor eating self regulation are at increased risk for the development of obesity. However, little is known about developmental influences on individual differences in self-regulation, particularly where eating is concerned. The overall goal of the proposed investigation is to comprehensively evaluate associations of child self-regulation, food intake, and weight status with parenting styles and practices in low-income Hispanic and African American families with preschoolers. To achieve this goal, a longitudinal design will be employed to examine temporal relationships among these constructs.
The first aim of this study is to examine developmental changes in children's general and food-specific self-regulation as well as the impact of those changes on child intake and weight status over a two-year period.
The second aim i s to determine if specific food parenting practices reflect general styles of parenting and feeding in parents of children transitioning from preschool age to elementary school age. The primary and final aim is to evaluate bi-directional influences of children's eating and weight on food parenting practices across a two year period. The proposed research offers several important advancements to scientific understanding of parenting influences on child eating and weight status. Both parenting styles and practices will be measured concurrently in general and food-specific domains. General and food-specific domains of child self-regulation will also be assessed. In addition to parental self reports, parenting and child eating behavior will be assessed by standard observational methodology using well-established theoretical perspectives from the general developmental literature. Finally, bidirectional effects will be examined because it is well-established that influences in the parent-child dyad occur from both parent to child and child to parent. Bidirectional influences have not been studied previously in the eating domain.
Childhood obesity is associated with negative health outcomes and children with poor eating self-regulation are at increased risk for the development of obesity. This proposal will longitudinally evaluate the influence of parenting styles and food parenting practices on child self-regulation, food intake, and weight status among low-income Hispanic and African American families with preschoolers. The proposed research offers several important advancements to scientific understanding of parenting influences on child eating and weight.
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