Date of this Version
Encinger, A. J. (2015). Predictors of preschool children's body mass index: Breastfeeding duration, child eating behaviors and parental feeding practices (Master's thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The current study examined how breastfeeding duration, child eating behaviors (Satiety and Food Responsiveness), and parental feeding practices (Environment and Parental Control over Food) are related to body mass index (BMI) among preschool-aged children. Participants were 224 primary caregivers (M age = 30.36; 90% mothers) of preschool-aged children (M age = 4.22 years, 55% male) from three Midwestern preschools serving low-income children. Mediated multiple regression analyses examined the effects of the various child eating behaviors and parental feeding practices as mediators of the relation between breastfeeding duration and child BMI. Three main findings emerged. There was a significant negative correlation between breastfeeding duration and child BMI and a significant direct effect for breastfeeding duration on child Satiety Responsiveness, Food Responsiveness, and Environment. Only Food Responsiveness had a direct effect on child BMI percentile, and Food Responsiveness fully mediated the relation between breastfeeding duration and child BMI. Results may be beneficial to early care and education programs in supporting and encouraging healthy eating behaviors and parental feeding practices early on. Helping to decrease children’s external food cue responsiveness may aid children in maintaining healthy weight status.
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