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Appetite. 2000 Oct;35(2):121-9.

Young girls' emerging dietary restraint and disinhibition are related to parental control in child feeding.

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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


This research investigated the origins of dietary restraint and disinhibition in young girls by considering how parents' control in child feeding and their daughters' perceptions of these practices relate to girls' dietary restraint and disinhibition. Participants were 197 5-year-old girls (4.6-6.4 years) and their parents. Parental pressure and restriction were measured using the Child Feeding Questionnaire. Girls' perceptions of parental pressure and restriction were measured using the Kid's Child Feeding Questionnaire, and their restraint and emotional and external disinhibition were measured using an age-appropriate version of the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to determine associations among parental control in feeding, daughters' perceptions of control, and daughters' dietary restraint and disinhibition. The results indicated that one-third of 5-year-olds reported moderate levels of dietary restraint, about 25% of the sample showed evidence of emotional disinhibition, and nearly 75% reported externally disinhibited eating in the presence of palatable foods. Daughters' dietary restraint and emotional disinhibition were related to their perceptions of parental pressure to eat more, while their external disinhibition was related to their perceptions of having restrictions placed on their eating. This research reveals that pressure in child feeding is associated with the emergence of dietary restraint and disinhibition among young girls, eating styles characterized by a lack of responsiveness to internal hunger and satiety cues.

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