Feeding Practices and Styles Used by a Diverse Sample of Low-income Parents of Preschool-age Children

Published:March 15, 2010DOI:



      To describe the feeding practices and styles used by a diverse sample of low-income parents of preschool-age children.


      Thirty- to 60-minute meetings involving a semistructured interview and 2 questionnaires administered by the interviewer.


      Low-income communities in Philadelphia, PA.


      Thirty-two parents of 2- to 6-year-old children.

      Phenomena of Interest

      The feeding practices and styles of low-income parents of preschoolers.


      Qualitative interviews analyzed iteratively following a thematic approach; quantitative data analyzed using nonparametric and chi-square tests.


      Qualitative analyses revealed parents used a myriad of feeding practices to accomplish child-feeding goals. Racial/ethnic differences were seen; East Asian parents used more child-focused decision-making processes, whereas black parents used more parent-focused decision-making processes. Quantitative analyses substantiated racial/ethnic differences; black parents placed significantly higher demands on children for the amounts (H = 5.89, 2 df, P = .05; Kruskal-Wallis) and types (H = 8.39, 2 df, P = .01; Kruskal-Wallis) of food eaten compared to parents of other races/ethnicities. In contrast, significantly higher proportions of East Asian parents were classified as having an indulgent feeding style compared to black parents and parents of other races/ethnicities (χ2[4, n = 32] = 9.29, P < .05).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Findings provide support for tailoring nutrition education programs to meet the diverse needs of this target audience.

      Key Words

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