Indulgent Feeding Style Moderates the Association of Food Responsiveness to Body Mass Index Z-scores of Preschoolers

Published:September 29, 2022DOI:



      To investigate the moderating role of caregiver feeding styles in the association between preschool children's food-approaching eating behaviors and body mass index (BMI) z-scores.


      This cross-sectional study examined 81 caregiver-preschooler dyads from low-income neighborhoods in Santiago, Chile. Moderated multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine the moderating effect of the indulgent feeding style in the relation between eating behaviors and BMI z-scores of preschool children.


      The indulgent caregiver feeding style moderated the association between food responsiveness and BMI z-scores of preschoolers. In an indulgent feeding style, food responsiveness was associated with higher child BMI z-scores (β = 0.50; P < 0.001). There was no interaction between enjoyment of food and feeding styles in relation to children's BMI z-scores (β = 0.17; P = 0.58).

      Conclusions and Implications

      An indulgent feeding style can be a risk factor for unhealthy weight outcomes in food responsive preschoolers, but not in those who enjoy food. Educating indulgent parents in the feeding context, and prioritizing children with food-approaching behaviors who are sensitive to external food cues may be effective for approaching childhood obesity.

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