Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of



Dipti A. Dev

Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 48:8 (2016), pp 530-537. doi 10.1016/j.jneb.2016.06.006


Copyright © 2016 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Published by Elsevier, Inc. Used by permission.


Objective: To examine the relation between preschoolers' eating behaviors and body mass index (BMI) z-scores (BMIz) and the moderating role of permissive parent feeding styles in these associations.

Design: Cross-sectional study involving mothers' report of food-related parenting styles and child eating behaviors.

Setting: Small city in southern Mississippi.

Participants: Mother–preschooler dyads (n = 104).

Main Outcome Measure: Child body BMIz.

Analysis: Moderated multiple regression.

Results: An uninvolved feeding style moderated the relationship between emotional eating and BMIz such that children with higher emotional overeating scores had higher a BMIz in the presence of an uninvolved feeding style (B = 2.16; P = .01).

Conclusions and Implications: An uninvolved feeding style may be a risk factor for higher BMIz in preschoolers who tend to overeat to cope with negative emotions. For other children in this population, self-regulatory aspects of eating may be more important than mothers' feeding style in the maintenance of healthy weight.