What Can Meal Observations Tell Us about Eating Behavior in Malnourished Children?
ABSTRACT: Responsive feeding is an important aspect of child care, yet little is known about child eating and caregiver feeding behavior in Kenya. This study aimed to develop a mealtime observation methodology and assess child eating and caregiver feeding behavior in healthy and undernourished children in Nairobi. Healthy (n = 6) and undernourished (n = 13) children aged 6-24 months were observed during a meal, with standardized rating of child interest in food, mood, distraction and caregiver responsiveness. Eating and feeding behavior varied with the stage of the meal. Child interest in food decreased and child and caregiver distraction increased as the meal progressed. Healthy children were happy and interested in food during meals, but undernourished children often had low interest in food (7/13). The 7 undernourished children eating home food were distracted (3) and unhappy (5) but children eating ready-to-use therapeutic foods (6) were all happy and undistracted. Caregivers of healthy children offered encouragement more often during meals than caregivers of undernourished children (5/6 healthy, 3/13 undernourished). Meal observations were resource intensive and could give only a snapshot of the child feeding experience. More efficient research methods that can capture a general assessment of infant eating behavior are needed.
Project description:Child eating and caregiver feeding behaviours are critical determinants of food intake, but they are poorly characterized in undernourished children. We aimed to describe how appetite, food refusal and force-feeding vary between undernourished and healthy children aged 6-24 months in Nairobi and identify potential variables for use in a child eating behaviour scale for international use. This cross-sectional study was conducted in seven clinics in low-income areas of Nairobi. Healthy and undernourished children were quota sampled to recruit equal numbers of undernourished children (weight for age [WAZ] or weight for length [WLZ] Z scores ?2SD) and healthy children (WAZ > 2SD). Using a structured interview schedule, questions reflecting child appetite, food refusal and caregiver feeding behaviours were rated using a 5-point scale. Food refusal and force-feeding variables were then combined to form scores and categorized into low, medium and high. In total, 407 child-caregiver pairs, aged median [interquartile range] 9.98 months [8.7 to 14.1], were recruited of whom 55% were undernourished. Undernourished children were less likely to 'love food' (undernourished 78%; healthy 90% p = < 0.001) and more likely to have high food refusal (18% vs. 3.3% p = <0.001), while their caregivers were more likely to use high force-feeding (28% vs. 16% p = 0.03). Undernourished children in low-income areas in Nairobi are harder to feed than healthy children, and force-feeding is used widely. A range of discriminating variables could be used to measure child eating behaviour and assess the impact of interventions.
Project description:Food insecurity is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially for children from diverse households. Food insecurity presents a potentially different context in which parents engage in food-related parenting practices and children engage in eating behaviors. Parents may also experience higher levels of stress and depressed mood in the context of food insecurity. This study aims to examine associations between momentary parental stress and depressed mood, food-related parenting practices, and child eating behaviors within food secure and insecure households. Children ages 5–7 and their families (n = 150) from six racial/ethnic groups (n = 25 each African American, Hispanic, Hmong, Native American, Somali, White) were recruited for this mixed-methods study through primary care clinics in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in 2015–2016. High levels of parental stress and depressed mood experienced earlier in the day within food insecure households was associated with using restrictive feeding practices and serving more pre-prepared foods at the evening meal the same night. Parents from food secure households who experienced high levels of stress earlier in the day were more likely to engage in pressure-to-eat feeding practices, serve more fast food, and to have children who engaged in picky eating behaviors at the evening meal the same night. Health care clinicians may want to consider, or continue to, screen parents for food insecurity, stress, and depressed mood during well child visits and discuss the influence these factors may have on every day food-related parenting practices. Additionally, future research should consider using real-time interventions to reduce parental stress to promote healthy food-related parenting practices within food insecure and secure households.
Project description:Child undernutrition has multifactorial causes, ranging from food insecurity to etiologies refractory to conventional nutritional approaches, such as infections, environmental enteric dysfunction, and other conditions that lead to systemic inflammation. Poor appetite may be an important symptom of these causes and may be a useful marker of an undernourished child's ability to recover. We conducted a systematic review to characterize the methods and tools to measure appetite among children <5 y old in low- and middle-income countries. A systematic search of 8 databases identified 23 eligible studies published since 1995. Thirteen described methods based on direct feeding observation or quantification of nutrient intake from caregiver report, 16 described tools that assessed caregiver perceptions of appetite, and 6 reported assessments in both categories. Four studies that gauged caregiver perceptions assessed multiple appetite domains, whereas 12 assessed 1 domain-often with a single question. Only 6 studies reported validation processes, the most common of which compared an observed test meal with daily energy intake. No studies reported the use of a method or tool that was validated in multiple cultural or linguistic contexts. Although dietary intake measures and observed feeding tests have shown validity in some contexts, they are resource intensive. Subjective caregiver questionnaires may offer a more efficient appetite evaluation method, but they have been evaluated less consistently. A rigorously developed and validated tool to rapidly assess child appetite is needed and could be best addressed by a questionnaire that leverages the multiple domains of appetite. The application of interventions that target causes of undernutrition that are not amenable to food-based interventions in clinical or research contexts could be facilitated by an efficient appetite screening tool to identify appetite-related causes of undernutrition and to monitor children's response to such interventions.
Project description:Individual differences in children's eating behaviours emerge early. We examined the relationship between breastfeeding exposure and subsequent eating behaviours among children from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) cohort. Children (n = 970) were grouped according to their breastfeeding exposure: high (full breastfeeding ? 4 months with continued breastfeeding ? 6 months), low (any breastfeeding < 3 months or no breastfeeding) and intermediate (between low and high breastfeeding categories). Aspects of eating behaviour from ages 15 months to 6 years were captured using a combination of maternal reports (Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire; Infant Feeding Questionnaire; Preschooler Feeding Questionnaire) and laboratory-based measures of meal size, oral processing behaviours (e.g. average eating speed and bite size) and tendency to eat in the absence of hunger. Most children had low (44%) or intermediate (44%) breastfeeding exposure; only 12% had high exposure. After adjusting for confounders, multivariable linear regression analyses indicated the high (but not intermediate) breastfeeding group was associated with significantly lower reported food fussiness at 3 years compared to low breastfeeding group (-0.38 [-0.70, -0.06]), with similar but non-significant trends observed at 6 years (-0.27 [-0.66, 0.11]). At 3 years, mothers in the high breastfeeding group also reported the least difficulty in child feeding compared to low breastfeeding group (-0.22 [-0.43, -0.01]). However, high breastfeeding was not associated with any other maternal-reports of child feeding or eating behaviours, and no significant associations were observed between breastfeeding exposure and any of the laboratory measures of eating behaviour at any of the time points. These results do not strongly support the view that increased breastfeeding exposure alone has lasting and consistent associations with eating behaviours in early childhood.
Project description:Background: Early childhood (2-5 years) is acknowledged as a critical time for the establishment of healthy behaviours. The increasing number of children and amount of time spent in childcare provides strong rationale to explore the important role that childcare services and childcare educators play in influencing healthy eating behaviours of young children in their care. Methods: This study used a qualitative exploratory approach to describe the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Australian childcare trainee educators' regarding their role in the feeding of young children. Results: All participants agreed that feeding of young children was an important part of their role, but described challenges to the promotion of healthy eating and the adoption of responsive child feeding practices. These included personal beliefs and experiences with food, the bi-directional nature of child feeding, conflicting parental requests and/or unsupportive centre-based policies and procedures. Conclusion: Training about responsive child feeding practices within the childcare sector should include all childcare staff; aim to enhance relational efficacy and communication skills with parents; and empower childcare staff to lead organisational change. To support this, childcare centres need to provide coherent centre-based healthy eating policies inclusive of healthy food provision and desirable feeding practices.
Project description:Previous research demonstrated that faster eating rates are linked with increased intake of energy during a meal. Here, we examined whether within-meal parental feeding practices show cross-sectional and prospective associations with children's oral processing behaviours and whether the previously demonstrated association between faster eating rates and higher energy intakes varies by parental feeding practices. A subset (n = 155) of children and their mothers from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort participated in an ad libitum meal at age 4.5 years. Children's oral processing behaviours (eating rate, bite size, chews per gram, oral exposure time, and meal duration) and parental feeding practices (autonomy-supporting and coercive prompts, restrictions, hurrying, and slowing) were recorded during the meal. Subsequently, 94 of the children participated in a follow-up meal without their mothers at age 6 years. Parental feeding practices were not consistently associated with child oral processing behaviours overall. However, exploratory post hoc analyses revealed some sex differences. The mothers of girls with faster eating rates, larger bite sizes, and fewer chews were more likely to use hurrying, slowing, and restrictions, but similar associations were not observed among boys. Children who had the most problematic eating style and were eating fast and for long experienced more restrictions, instructions to slow down, and prompts. Faster eating rates were linked with the highest energy intakes if children were additionally prompted to eat. Prospective analyses showed that children who were more often prompted using coercive techniques and less frequently hurried at age 4.5 years had faster eating rates at 6 years and a larger increase in eating rates between ages 4.5 and 6 years but did not consume more energy. Although the direction of these associations cannot be assumed, these exploratory analyses suggest sex differences in the associations between feeding practices and oral processing behaviours and highlight the potential role of parents in the development of children's oral processing behaviours.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Toddlers' eating behaviors are influenced by the way parents interact with their children. The objective of this study was to explore how five major constructs of general parenting behavior cluster in parents of toddlers. These parenting clusters were further explored to see how they differed in the use of feeding strategies (i.e. feeding styles and food parenting practices) and by reported child eating styles. METHODS:An online survey with 1005 mothers/caregivers (legal guardians) with at least one child between 12 and 36 months old was conducted in the United States in 2012, assessing general parenting behavior, feeding style, food parenting practices and the child eating styles. RESULTS:A three cluster solution of parenting style was found and clusters were labelled as overprotective/supervising, authoritarian, and authoritative. The clusters differed in terms of general parenting behaviors. Both overprotective and authoritative clusters showed high scores on structure, behavioral control, and nurturance. The overprotective cluster scored high on overprotection. The 'authoritarian' cluster showed lowest levels of nurturance, structure and behavioral control. Overprotective and authoritative parents showed very similar patterns in the use of food parenting practices, e.g. monitoring food intake, modeling, and promoting healthy food intake and availability at home. Overprotective parents also reported higher use of pressure to eat and involvement. Authoritarian parents reported high use of giving the child control over their food behaviors, emotion regulation, using food as a reward, and controlling food intake for weight control. Children's eating styles did not largely vary by parenting cluster. CONCLUSION:This study showed that a relatively new parenting style of overprotection is relevant for children's eating behaviors. Overprotective parents reported food parenting practices that are known to be beneficial for children's food intake, such as modelling healthy food intake, as well as more unfavorable practices such as pressure. Longitudinal data on parenting practices and their relation to healthy eating in children is needed to inform communication and interventions for parents, reinforcing key feeding strategies which have positive effects on child eating behaviors and addressing parenting styles that have unintended negative effects.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Understanding children's feeding practices and eating behaviors is important to determine etiology of childhood obesity. This study aimed to explore the relationship between early feeding practices, eating behavior and body composition among primary school children.<h4>Methods</h4>The data were collected from 403 primary school children. They were administered structured questionnaire, including sociodemographic characteristics, early feeding practices and Child's Eating Behavior Questionnaire. Anthropometric and blood pressure (BP) measurements were performed.<h4>Results</h4>Children with obesity and overweight showed higher food approach subscales and lower food avoidance subscales compared to a healthy and underweight child. Children who were exclusively or predominantly breast fed during the first 6 months had the lowest scores for the food approach subscales, food responsiveness (FR) and emotional overeating (EOE) and had the highest scores for the food avoidance subscales, satiety responsiveness (SR) and emotional under eating (EUE). Children who were introduced solid food after 6 months showed lower scores for FR, enjoyment of food and EOE but scored highest for SR, slowness in eating (SE) and EUE. All anthropometric measurements were positively correlated with all food approach subscales and negatively with SE, SR and food fussiness. All food approach subscales were positively correlated with BP percentiles. All food avoidance subscales were negatively correlated with both BP percentiles, except for EUE, which was negatively correlated with diastolic BP percentile only. Age, SR, SE and FR were predictors for child body mass index.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Early feeding practices and eating behavior are considered as prevention approaches for obesity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Picky eating behaviour in young children is a common concern for parents. OBJECTIVE:To investigate early life factors which are associated with a child becoming a picky eater. DESIGN:Singleton children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were studied prospectively (n?=?5758-6608). Parental-completion questionnaires were used to define 'picky eating' status at age 3 years, and child and parental feeding behaviours and practices throughout the first 2 years of life. Multinomial logistic regression models with 3 levels of picky eating (not, somewhat and very picky) as the dependant variables tested associations with antecedent variables, from pregnancy, and the first and second year of life, separately, then combining all significant variables in a final model. RESULTS:Feeding difficulties during complementary feeding and late introduction of lumpy foods (after 9 months) were associated with increased likelihood of the child being very picky. A strong predictor was the child being choosy at 15 months, particularly if the mother was worried about this behaviour. Many children (56%) were considered to be choosy at 15 months: 17% went on to be very picky at 3 years if the mother was not worried, compared with 50% if the mother was very worried by the choosiness. The mother providing fresh fruit and eating the same meal as the child were protective against later 'picky eating', while feeding ready-prepared food was predictive. CONCLUSION:Advice and support to parents could help to reduce picky eating behaviour. Parents should be encouraged to introduce lumpy foods by 9 months, to feed fresh foods particularly fruit, and to eat with their children. Parents should be reassured that choosiness is normal and to continue to provide a variety of foods.
Project description:Restrictive feeding by parents has been associated with greater eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) among children, a risk factor for obesity. However, few studies have examined the association between restrictive feeding and EAH longitudinally, raising questions regarding the direction of associations between restrictive feeding and child EAH. Our objective was to examine the bidirectional prospective associations between restrictive feeding and EAH among toddlers.Low-income mother-child dyads (n?=?229) participated when children were 21, 27, and 33 months old. Restriction with regard to food amount and food quality were measured with the Infant Feeding Styles Questionnaire. EAH was measured as kilocalories of food children consumed after a satiating meal. A cross-lagged analysis adjusting for child sex and weight-for-length z-score was used to simultaneously test cross-sectional and bidirectional prospective associations between each type of restriction and children's EAH.At 21 months, mothers of children with greater EAH reported higher restriction with regard to food amount (b?=?0.17, p?<?.05). Restriction with regard to food amount at age 21 months was inversely associated with EAH at 27 months (b?=?-0.20, p?<?.05). Restriction with regard to food amount at 27 months was not associated with EAH at 33 months and restriction with regard to food quality was not associated with EAH. EAH did not prospectively predict maternal restriction.Neither restriction with regard to food amount nor food quality increased risk for EAH among toddlers. Current US clinical practice recommendations for parents to avoid restrictive feeding, and the potential utility of restrictive feeding with regard to food amount in early toddlerhood, deserve further consideration.