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Maternal Parenting Behaviors during Childhood Relate to Weight Status and Fruit and Vegetable Intake of College Students

Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.05.008
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Parenting
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Body Weights And Measures
  • Eating
  • Psychology


Abstract Objective Examine how maternal parenting behaviors in childhood, both general and feeding specific, relate to weight status and fruit and vegetable consumption in college students. Design Retrospective surveys on maternal behaviors and assessments on the college-aged child's current anthropometric measures and dietary intakes. Participants College students (n = 424; 66% women). Main Outcome Measures Students' weight, height, waist circumference, fruit and vegetable intakes, students' reports on mothers' general and feeding-specific parenting behaviors during childhood. Analysis Correlation and regression analyses tested how maternal behaviors in childhood related to students' body mass index, waist circumference, and fruit and vegetable intake. Results Mothers' psychological control during childhood was associated with higher body mass index and waist circumference in students, and behavioral control was associated with lower waist circumference. Parent-centered feeding behaviors related to lower fruit and vegetable intakes of students, whereas child-centered feeding behaviors related to higher fruit and vegetable intakes. Conclusions and Implications Findings suggest that parental use of behavioral control and child-centered feeding practices and minimal use of psychological control and parent-centered feeding practices during childhood may promote a child's healthful weight status and fruit and vegetable consumption in young adulthood, specifically during college.

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