An examination of food parenting practices: Structure, control and autonomy promotion

Dara R. Musher-Eizenman, Lynnel Goodman, Lindsey Roberts, Jenna Marx, Maija Taylor, Debra Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective In recent years, researchers have been working towards creating a standard conceptual framework of food parenting. To understand how parents' reports correspond with the proposed model, the current study examined parents' reports of their feeding behaviours in the context of a newly established framework of food parenting.Design Cross-sectional, with a two-week follow-up for a subset of the sample. Participants completed a quantitative and qualitative survey to assess food parenting. The survey included items from common food parenting instruments to measure the constructs posited in the framework. Exploratory factor analyses were conducted to ascertain which items related most closely to one another and factors were mapped on to existing constructs.Setting Online.Participants Parents of children aged 2·5-7 years (n 496). Of these, 122 completed a two-week follow-up.Results Analyses revealed eleven aspects of Structure (monitoring; distraction; family presence; meal/snack schedule; unstructured practices; healthy/unhealthy food availability; food preparation; healthy/unhealthy modelling; rules), ten aspects of Coercive Control (pressure to eat; using food to control emotions; food incentives to eat; food incentives to behave; non-food incentives to eat; restriction for health/weight; covert restriction; clean plate; harsh coercion) and seven aspects of Autonomy Promotion (praise; encouragement; nutrition education; child involvement; negotiation; responsive feeding; repeated offering). Content validity, assessed via parents' open-ended explanations of their responses, was high, and test-retest reliability was moderate to high. Structure and Autonomy Promoting food parenting were highly positively correlated.Conclusions In general, parents' responses provided support for the model, but suggested some amendments and refinements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-826
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Feeding practices
  • Food parenting
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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