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The relationships between food-related parenting practices and child food preferences

12 / 09 / 17

This study used the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire (CFPQ) with 148 parents of 3-7 year old children to determine the relationship between food-related parenting practices and children’s preferences for fruit, vegetables, and high fat/sugar foods. Results were as follows:

  • When a parent allows a child to control eating, it was negatively associated with child preference for fruit
  • Parental encouragement of child involvement in meal preparation was positively associated with child preference for vegetables.
  • Children preferred high fat and high sugar foods more if parents used food to regulate emotions, used food as a reward, pressured the child to eat more, and restricted unhealthy food
  • Children preferred high fat and sugar foods less if parents made healthy food available in the home, modelled healthy eating in front of the child, and if parents explained why healthy foods should be consumed.

While this study cannot determine if the parent or the child is doing the influencing, it provides some evidence that coercive feeding practices are detrimental to a child’s food preferences.

Vollmer RL, Baietto J. Practices and preferences: Exploring the relationships between food-related parenting practices and child food preferences for high fat and/or sugar foods, fruits and vegetables. Appetite 2017;113:134-140