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Parental child-feeding practices at 4 years of age are associated with dietary patterns of 7-year-olds.

  • Barbosa, Catarina1, 2
  • Lopes, Carla1, 2, 3
  • Costa, Alexandra1, 2
  • Warkentin, Sarah1, 2
  • Oliveira, Andreia1, 2, 3
  • 1 EPIUnit, Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto), Porto, Portugal. , (Portugal)
  • 2 Laboratory for Integrative and Translational Research in Population Health (ITR), Porto, Portugal. , (Portugal)
  • 3 Department of Public Health and Forensic Sciences and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. , (Portugal)
Published Article
Journal of human nutrition and dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2023
DOI: 10.1111/jhn.13151
PMID: 36794574


Parental child-feeding practices have been associated with child body mass index (BMI) and specific food group consumption; however, their role in the development of dietary patterns is less understood. We aim to study the association between parental child-feeding practices at 4 years old and dietary patterns at 7 years that explain BMI z-scores at age 10. Participants were children from the Generation XXI birth cohort (n = 3272). Three patterns of feeding practices at 4 years were previously identified: 'Perceived monitoring', 'Restriction' and 'Pressure to eat'. At 7 years, two dietary patterns were derived: 'Energy-dense foods', higher consumption of energy-dense foods and drinks and processed meats and lower consumption of vegetable soup (significantly associated with BMI z-scores at 10 years) and 'Fish-based', higher in fishery intake and lower in energy-dense food intake. Associations were estimated by linear regression models, adjusted for potential confounders (mother's age, education and pre-pregnancy BMI). Girls whose parents used more Restriction, Perceived monitoring and Pressure to eat at 4 years were less likely to follow the 'Energy-dense foods' dietary pattern at 7 years (β̂ = -0.082; 95% confidence intervals [CI]: -0.134; -0.029; β̂ = -0.093; 95% CI: -0.146; -0.039; β̂ = -0.079; 95% CI: -0.135; -0.04, respectively). In both sexes, children whose parents used more Restriction and Perceived monitoring at 4 years were more likely to follow the 'Fish-based' dietary pattern at 7 years (girls: β̂ = 0.143; 95% CI: 0.077; 0.210; β̂ = 0.079; 95% CI: 0.011; 0.148; boys: β̂ = 0.157; 95% CI: 0.090; 0.224; β̂ = 0.104; 95% CI: 0.041; 0.168). Children whose parents used more Restriction and Perceived monitoring at preschool age were more likely to follow healthier dietary patterns at age 7. © 2023 The Authors. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Dietetic Association.

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