The dynamics of parenting and early feeding - constructs and controversies : a viewpoint
There is increasing evidence that parenting and feeding interact to influence children’s eating behaviour and weight status. Interpretation of existing research is complicated by the lack of consensus in the conceptualisation and measurement of both ‘parenting’ and ‘feeding’, particularly the distinction between ‘styles’, ‘dimensions’ and ‘practices’. In addition, the lack of validated tools to concurrently assess feeding practices in infancy limits the capacity to examine the relationships between parenting and feeding in infancy and their short- and long-term influence on weight status. In this paper we provide an overview of the constructs examined in this emerging area of research, highlight the conceptual, definitional and measurement challenges and propose a unifying model to aid design and the interpretation of intervention studies. Progress on these methodological issues will contribute to the robust evidence required to justify investment in interventions that focus on parenting and feeding in the context of child obesity prevention.
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