Significant differences in maternal child‐feeding style between ethnic groups in the UK: the role of deprivation and parenting styles
Korani et al., JHND Early View
Nonresponsive maternal child‐feeding interactions, such as restricting, pressurising and emotional feeding, can affect the ability of a child to self‐regulate intake and increase the risk of becoming overweight. However, despite findings that South Asian and Black children living in the UK are more likely to be overweight, UK research has not considered how maternal child‐feeding style might differ between ethnic groups. The present study aimed to explore variations in maternal child‐feeding style between ethnic groups in the UK, taking into account associated factors such as deprivation and parenting style.
Six hundred and fifty‐nine UK mothers with a child who was aged 5–11 years old completed a questionnaire. Items included ethnicity and demographic data, as well as copies of the Child Feeding Questionnaire, Parental Feeding Styles Questionnaire and Parenting Styles and Dimensions Questionnaire.
Significant differences in perceived responsibility (P = 0.002), restriction (P = 0.026), pressure to eat (P = 0.045), instrumental feeding (P < 0.001) and emotional feeding (P < 0.001) were found between the groups. Mothers from South Asian backgrounds reported higher levels of pressure to eat, emotional feeding and indulgent feeding styles, whereas mothers from Chinese backgrounds reported greater perceived responsibility and restriction. Mothers from Black and White British backgrounds were not significantly higher with respect to any behaviour. Maternal child‐feeding style was also associated with deprivation and parenting style, although these did not fully explain the data.
Understanding cultural factors behind maternal child‐feeding style, particularly around pressurising and indulgent feeding behaviours, may play an important part in reducing levels of children who are overweight and obese in the UK.