Compliant eating of maternally prompted food predicts increased body mass index z-score gain in girls: Results from a population-based sample

Myles S. Faith, Moonseong Heo, Tanja V.E. Kral, Bettylou Sherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background: Poorer "division of responsibility" (DoR) feeding, characterized by high parental control and reduced child food choice, may promote pediatric obesity, although population-based prospective data are lacking. We tested whether poorer DoR feeding predicts childhood overweight/obesity onset and BMI z-score gain, over 10 years in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth. Methods: We studied 302 girls and 316 boys, with mean ages 52.24 and 52.35 months, respectively, in 1986, who were followed for 10 years. We excluded children who were initially overweight/obese. Mothers completed three DoR feeding questions in 1986: (1) child eating compliance of prompted foods; (2) child eating compliance of initially refused foods; and (3) mother-allotted child food choice. Child BMI (kg/m2) was calculated from measured weights and heights in 1986, 1988, 1992, 1994, and 1996. Results: Daughters who complied with maternal food prompts [odds ratio (OR), 2.01] and those who obeyed maternal prompts to consume initially rejected foods (OR, 2.29) "most of the time" were significantly more likely than daughters who complied less frequently to become overweight/obese after 8 years. Also, more frequent eating compliance (p<0.001) and more frequent compliance of initially rejected foods (p=0.003) predicted greater BMI z-score gain in girls. These associations were not found for boys. Maternal obesity consistently predicted overweight/obesity risk in girls (ORs, 2.48-8.63) and boys (ORs, 2.27- 4.03). Conclusions: Teaching parents to avoid coercive feeding practices, while encouraging child self-selection of healthier foods, may help their daughters to achieve better energy balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-436
Number of pages10
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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