Parenting Practices and Nutrition

Responsive child feeding practices are associated with nutritious dietary intake and healthy weights among children and, as a result, such practices are promoted in nutrition education programs. The determinants of parenting and child feeding practices, however, are not well understood and there has been relatively little research within low-income families. We are involved in two research projects in New York State that begin to fill this gap by exploring how parenting influences child feeding practices.

Previous research has revealed that past experiences with food insecurity can influence parents’ current attitudes and practices related to feeding their children. To help nutrition educators address this barrier in their programming, we seek to develop, cognitively-test and validate a survey tool to assess previous food insecurity experiences in childhood. We conducted in-depth interviews with low-income parents, as well, on how they remember early food insecurity experiences and what they see as the lasting emotional and behavioral impacts. A key goal is to explore how parents’ own views of food experiences over the life course, particularly previous food insecurity, influence current ability to adopt the responsive parenting and feeding practices recommended to prevent childhood obesity.


Child Feeding Practices in New York StateThe Influence of Past Food Insecurity on Parents’ Use of Child Feeding Practices Recommended to Prevent Child Obesity (completed)

Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents making a difference! (current)


Katherine Dickin, Stephanie Ortolano