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Adv Nutr. 2019 Jan 1;10(1):89-103. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmy050.

Parent Feeding Practices in the Australian Indigenous Population within the Context of non-Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Populations in Other High-Income Countries-A Scoping Review.

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Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Australia, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences (Nutrition), Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


Although extensive literature on parent feeding practices among the general Australian population exists, Australian Indigenous populations are generally overlooked. A systematic scoping review was carried out to map any source of literature showing Indigenous parent feeding practices in Australia in the context of what is known about parent feeding practices among broader Australian populations and Indigenous populations in other high-income countries.A search of 8 electronic health databases was conducted. Inclusion criteria were children aged <12 y and reporting ≥1 child outcome related to childhood overweight and/or obesity, body mass index, dietary intake, or eating behavior in the context of parent feeding practices. Studies were grouped according to Indigenous status of the population for data extraction and synthesis.A total of 79 studies were identified; 80% (n = 65) were conducted among the general Australian population and <20% (n = 14) focused on Indigenous populations. Although a wide range of feeding practices were identified among the general Australian population, Indigenous practices most closely aligned with highly responsive and permissive parenting dimensions. The highly valued child autonomy in Indigenous parenting is sometimes criticized by researchers when viewed through a Western lens because the child has agency in deciding what and when to eat.Evidence-based understanding and knowledge of Indigenous parent feeding practices in Australia are limited. Indigenous worldviews are expressed distinctly differently than the general Western worldview in parent feeding practices. How worldviews are represented in parent-child relationships is important to consider for the way in which research with Indigenous populations is conducted and the evidence it generates to inform policy and practice.

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