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J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Nov;100(11):1341-6.

Parents' restrictive feeding practices are associated with young girls' negative self-evaluation of eating.

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  • 1USDA Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030-2600, USA.



This study was conducted to determine whether parents' restriction of young girls' access to palatable foods promotes the consumption of those foods while evoking negative self-evaluation.


Girls' intake of 10 snack foods was measured immediately following a standard lunch, in a setting with free access to palatable snack foods. Girls' self-evaluation about their eating was assessed following the free access snack session. In addition, reports of parental restriction were obtained from mothers, fathers, and girls.


Participants were 197 girls aged 4.6 to 6.4 years and their parents.


Structural equation modeling was used to test models describing relationships between parents' restriction and girls' eating.


Following the standard lunch, girls' snack food intake during the 10-minute free access session ranged from 0 to 436 kcal, with a mean of 123 +/- 7 kcal. Approximately half of the girls reported negative self-evaluation about eating 1 or more of the 10 foods provided. The revised path model indicated that parents' restriction predicted both girls' snack food intake and girls' negative self-evaluation of eating. Girls' negative self-evaluation of eating was not associated with the amount of food that they consumed when not hungry, but was linked to their perceptions of being restricted from those foods.


These findings indicate that restricting young girls' access to palatable foods may promote the intake of restricted foods and may also generate negative feelings about eating restricted foods.

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