The Influence of Parenting Practices on Feeding Problems in Preschoolers

Nuria de la Osa, Rocio Barraza, Lourdes Ezpeleta



The aim of the study is to estimate the prevalence of feeding problems during the preschool period and to explore the associations of feeding related behaviors with parenting practices. Participants were a large community sample of N=622 children longitudinally assessed yearly at ages 3, 4 and 5 years-old through diagnostic interview and questionnaires reported by parents. The prevalence of children who met DSM-IV criteria for feeding disorder during the follow-up was 1.6%, the amount of children who presented feeding disorder symptoms was 33.3%, those with clinical impairment due to these symptoms were 25.7% and 11.6% reported seek for professional help related to feeding problems. Logistic regressions adjusted to children’s sex and other DSM-IV diagnoses different to feeding disorder showed that the dimensions of parenting more strongly related to feeding related behaviors and impairment due to feeding problems were poor monitoring, inconsistence practices, corporal punishment, low norms and low autonomy. Although the prevalence of preschool children who met DSM-IV criteria for feeding disorder was relatively low, the presence of feeding related behaviors (symptoms, impairment and consultation) was common during this developmental period. Parenting practices are associated to the presence of these behaviors, and so they must be considered into the prevention and intervention programs.


feeding problems; parenting; preschool

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