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Appetite. 2018 Jul 1;126:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.03.008. Epub 2018 Mar 10.

"That's enough now!": A prospective study of the effects of maternal control on children's snack intake.

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School of Psychology Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. Electronic address:
School of Psychology Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


The aim of this study was to investigate maternal feeding strategies as prospective predictors of young children's snack intake. Participants were 252 mothers of children aged 3-11 years old who completed questionnaire measures of parent feeding strategies (Restriction and Covert Control) and reported on their child's healthy and unhealthy snack intake at two time points separated by three years. Longitudinal regression models showed no prediction of healthy snack food intake. However, Time 1 parental restrictive feeding predicted greater unhealthy snack intake at Time 2, while Time 1 covert feeding strategies predicted lower unhealthy snack intake at Time 2. Structural equation modeling showed that these associations were independent of known covariates that influence children's snack intake (child and parent weight, education level and SES). The results provide longitudinal evidence for the negative impact of restrictive parent feeding strategies on children's snack intake and highlight the importance of dissuading parents from using this type of feeding control. Instead, parents should be encouraged to use more covert feeding strategies that are associated with less unhealthy snack intake over the longer term.


Children; Covert control; Feeding style; Restriction; Snack intake

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