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Strict maternal feeding practices not linked to child weight gain
Date:5/26/2009

PROVIDENCE, RI A new study published online in the journal Obesity provides further evidence that strict maternal control over eating habits such as determining how much a child should eat and coaxing them to eat certain foods during early childhood may not lead to significant future weight gain in boys or girls. Instead, this behavior may be a response to concerns over a child's increasing weight.

"Our findings suggest that controlling maternal feeding practices probably do not cause increased weight gain, as some previous studies have proposed. In fact, some degree of control may actually be beneficial in helping certain children maintain their weight," says lead author Kyung E. Rhee, MD, MSc, a researcher with the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital. Rhee is also a pediatrician with Hasbro Children's Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics (clinical) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Controlling or restrictive feeding practices have been associated with disinhibited child eating, increased caloric intake and excessive weight gain, prompting some experts to recommend that parents avoid these overly restrictive behaviors when helping children control their weight. However, as the study authors point out, research on the relationship between controlling feeding practices and child weight has been inconsistent and has not conclusively determined whether these practices cause, or are a consequence of, weight gain.

In the study, researchers examined the data of 789 children who participated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. The group included almost equal numbers of girls and boys, which the authors say is significant, since many prior studies have only focused on girls.

Child heights and weights were obtained at ages 4, 7 and 9 and changes in body mass index (BMI) were measu
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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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