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Br J Nutr. 2015 Jan;113 Suppl:S55-71. doi: 10.1017/S000711451400333X.

Maternal depression, stress and feeding styles: towards a framework for theory and research in child obesity.

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Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University,105 College Avenue,Medford,MA02155,USA.
Department of Psychology,University of Houston,126 Heyne Building,Houston,TX77204,USA.
Department of Pediatrics,Baylor College of Medicine, USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center,1100 Bates Avenue,Houston,TX77030,USA.
EPSY/Counseling Psychology, University of Houston,491 Farish Hall,Houston,TX77204,USA.


Against the background of rising rates of obesity in children and adults in the USA, and modest effect sizes for obesity interventions, the aim of the present narrative review paper is to extend the UNICEF care model to focus on childhood obesity and its associated risks with an emphasis on the emotional climate of the parent-child relationship within the family. Specifically, we extended the UNICEF model by applying the systems approach to childhood obesity and by combining previously unintegrated sets of literature across multiple disciplines including developmental psychology, clinical psychology and nutrition. Specifically, we modified the extended care model by explicitly integrating new linkages (i.e. parental feeding styles, stress, depression and mother's own eating behaviour) that have been found to be associated with the development of children's eating behaviours and risk of childhood obesity. These new linkages are based on studies that were not incorporated into the original UNICEF model, but suggest important implications for childhood obesity. In all, this narrative review offers important advancements to the scientific understanding of familial influences on children's eating behaviours and childhood obesity.


Childhood obesity; Dietary intakes; Eating behaviours; Feeding styles; Life stress; Maternal depression

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