Objective: Parent feeding styles are considered effective targets for obesity prevention programs. Accurate measurement of feeding styles is a challenge for federally-funded, group-based nutrition education programs that rely on self-assessments with low literacy demands. Higher rates of obesity in Hispanic and Latino children warrant the development of valid self-assessment tools for low-literacy Spanish speakers.
Description: Mealtime observations were conducted in order to establish concurrent validity of parent responses to the Mi Niño a la Hora de Comer (Mi Niño) tool which assesses parent feeding styles in low-literacy, Spanish-speaking parents of preschool children. Videotaped mealtimes from 50 families are currently being coded using an adapted coding system developed previously for a similar English language tool, My Child at Mealtime (MCMT). The system identifies specific behaviors captured by the Mi Niño tool, such as verbally directing the child to eat, bargaining about eating, and physically feeding the child. Coder reliability (mean kappa = .82) has been established and coding will be completed by the time of presentation.
Evaluation: Associations between caregiver Mi Niño item level responses and specific behaviors observed during videotaped mealtime interactions with their preschool aged child will be assessed using Spearman's correlations. Behaviors will also be combined to assess whether patterns of “parent centered” and “child centered” behaviors are associated with the “parent centered” and “child centered” subscales of the Mi Niño tool. Concurrent validity will be determined based on the strength of alignment between MCMT item responses to observed behaviors during mealtime.
Conclusions and Implications: Development of a valid Spanish language, self-assessment tool with low-literacy demands to capture feeding style would be an effective tool for federally funded nutrition education programs. Establishing concurrent validity of the Mi Niño tool with mealtime behaviors allows the tool to be used to tailor programming toward addressing relevant barriers to healthy feeding interactions.
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