Skip to content

Parental beliefs about portion size, not children's own beliefs, predict child BMI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Obesity
Volume13
Issue number4
Early online date4 Apr 2017
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Feb 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2017
DatePublished (current) - Apr 2018

Abstract

Background

Increases in portion size are thought by many to promote obesity in children. However, this relationship remains unclear. Here, we explore the extent to which a child's BMI is predicted both by parental beliefs about their child's ideal and maximum portion size and/or by the child's own beliefs.

Methods

Parent–child (5–11 years) dyads (N = 217) were recruited from a randomized controlled trial (n = 69) and an interactive science centre (n = 148). For a range of main meals, parents estimated their child's ‘ideal’ and ‘maximum tolerated’ portions. Children completed the same tasks.

Results

An association was found between parents' beliefs about their child's ideal (β = .34, p < .001) and maximum tolerated (β = .30, p < .001) portions, and their child's BMI. By contrast, children's self-reported ideal (β = .02, p = .718) and maximum tolerated (β = −.09, p = .214) portions did not predict their BMI. With increasing child BMI, parents' estimations aligned more closely with their child's own selected portions.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that when a parent selects a smaller portion for their child than their child self-selects, then the child is less likely to be obese. Therefore, public health measures to prevent obesity might include instructions to parents on appropriate portions for young children.

    Research areas

  • BMI, Children, Eating behaviour, Obesity, Parental feeding practices, Portion size

Download statistics

No data available

Documents

Documents

  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Wiley at https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.12218 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 186 KB, PDF-document

    Licence: CC BY

DOI

View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups