Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

The Impact of Parental Feeding Practices on Their Children's Appetitive Traits: A Study among Children Aged 5-11 Years Old in Dubai Private Schools

Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

The Impact of Parental Feeding Practices on Their Children's Appetitive Traits: A Study among Children Aged 5-11 Years Old in Dubai Private Schools

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Eating is one of the fundamental human needs throughout one's life; and, as a result, it has a vital effect on people's health. As Brown and Ogden (2004) argue, dietary habits gained in childhood persist through adulthood. Nowadays, children's eating behaviours have changed drastically and turned into a predicament both for the parents and, at times, the children themselves. Children usually do not pay attention to their internal cues for hunger and satiety. Parents' feeding practices have been a much neglected factor and usually the index finger has been pointed to children thems elves , while recent s tudies reflect a twis t towards the parents and their own feeding practices . Parents ' pivotal role in this field is clearly put by Birch (2006) where s he s ays : "Parents can filter, buffer, and interpret macro-environmental influence on the children... Parental feeding practices as an effective role may determine the type of foods and portion sizes that children are offered, the frequency of eating occasions and the social contexts in which eating occurs". She further argues that it may have substantial effects on the weight, growth, and development of their children in the early ages of their lives. In the same vein, Scaglioni, Salvioni and Galimberti (2008) confirm that the major part of child's food preferences and energy intake are developed in the family environment under the parent s upervision. That is why the present study aims to find out the impact of parental feeding practices on their children's appetitive traits. "Pressure to eat" and "restriction" are two of direct strategies which are adopted by parents and have been investigated in this study as well. Parents exert pressure to ens ure their children eat healthy food or maintain an adequate food intake. They employ res triction to limit the amount of food intake or prohibit from junk food consumption. Studies show that "Pressure to eat" is related to the children's eating behaviour (Gregory, Paxton and Brozovic, 2010). Avoidance of eating is the common response of children to this strategy. Children whose parents force them to eat may take longer to eat by keeping food in their mouth to avoid the next s poon. Drucker and his co-workers (1999) found this result in an experiment which examined duration of eating however, Iannotti and his colleagues in 1994 argued that pressure to eat is related to faster eating (Webber, Cooke, Hill and Wardle2010). Bes ides, using this approach might cause rejection of a specific food (the one parents make them to eat) (Fisher and Birch 1999). Other outcomes of this practice might be having picky eater children (Ventrura and Birch 2008) which can manifes t itself in poorer dietary quality during childhood (Campbell, Crawford and Ball 2006) and (Fis her, Mitchell,Smiciklas and Birch 2002) and les s healthy food preferences (Carruth and Skinner 2000), (Galloway, Fiorito, Lee, and Birch 2005) and (Rus s el and Wors ley 2008). There is a longitudinal experiment in this field that shows the long term effect of using this practice. In that experiment, 7 years old girls whose mothers regularly used pressure to make them eat as a feeding strategy became more picky at the age of 9 (Galloway, Fiorito, Lee and Birch 2005). Galloway, Fiorito., Francis and Birch (2006) found that making children to eat would decrease their preferences and the amount of food taken during a meal time; they might also make negative comments about the target food. Many researchers believe that parental pressure to eat is positively related to fus s y eating and food neo-phobia (rejection of new foods) as well (Galloway, Fiorito., Francis and Birch 2006)) and (Wardle, Carnell and Cooke 2005).Moreover, "Pressure to eat" can impair child food interes t (Gregory, Paxton and Brozovic, 2010) and enjoyment (Galloway, Fiorito, Lee and Birch 2005). According to a study; children who were less under pressure showed greater food enjoyment or responsiveness to external cues th an their siblings who were pressured more (Webber, Cooke, Hill andW ardle2010). …

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