Beliefs about the Role of Parenting in Feeding and Childhood Obesity among Mothers of Lower Socioeconomic Status

Speaker: Julie C. Lumeng, MD Objective: To examine beliefs about the role of parenting in feeding and childhood obesity among mothers of lower socioeconomic status. Methods: Individual semistructured, audiotaped interview with 91 mothers of preschool-aged children (49% of mothers obese, 21% of children obese) in the midwestern United States. Participant comments were transcribed and common themes were identified using the constant comparative method and NVivo software. Results: Mothers often described their parents’ feeding style as authoritarian or neglectful, and their own current style as comparatively indulgent and better. Mothers described parents of overweight children as inept or neglectful, but they never described their own parenting as such. Conclusions and Implications: Encouraging mothers to reflect on how they were fed as children, how it may influence their current parenting, and how the relationship between mothering and child obesity is complex are important nutrition education opportunities.

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