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The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between maternal concern about child under- and overweight, the use of maternal feeding practices (pressure to eat and restriction, monitoring and modelling of healthy eating), child eating behaviours (fussiness and food responsiveness) and child body mass index. The sample consisted of 183 mothers of 2- to 4-year-old children who completed questionnaires about their feeding practices, concern about their child's weight, their child's eating behaviours, height and weight. Correlation analyses found that pressure to eat was positively associated with concern about child underweight, while restriction was positively associated with concern about child overweight. Monitoring and modelling were not independently associated with concern about child weight. Regression analysis revealed that child food fussiness positively predicted maternal pressure to eat, and this relationship was partially mediated by concern about child underweight. Child food responsiveness positively predicted restriction, and this relationship was partially mediated by concern about child overweight. Child BMI did not independently predict maternal feeding practices. The findings provide a useful contribution to the literature on determinants of maternal feeding practices, but further research is necessary to gain an understanding of the impact of these behaviours on child eating behaviour and weight.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





550 - 556


Adult, Body Height, Body Mass Index, Body Weight, Child Behavior, Child, Preschool, Eating, Feeding Behavior, Humans, Maternal Behavior, Middle Aged, Overweight, Surveys and Questionnaires