Background

Nonresponsive, controlling feeding practices promote overeating and weight gain. Individual differences in child appetitive traits may affect parent feeding practices. The aim of this analysis examined effects of a responsive parenting (RP) intervention for obesity prevention on maternal feeding practices at age 3 years, and whether appetitive traits moderated associations.

Methods

Participants (n=206) were first-time mother-child dyads enrolled in the INSIGHT Randomized Controlled Trial that tested an RP intervention designed for the primary prevention of obesity against a safety control. Child appetitive traits (Satiety Responsiveness, Food Responsiveness) were assessed using the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ) at age 2.5 years. Feeding practices (Pressure, Monitoring, Restriction) were assessed at age 3 years using the Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ). Linear models examined study group and appetitive trait interactions in CFQ subscales.

Results

There were no main effects of study group on maternal feeding practices or child appetitive traits.Because we expected appetitive traits to moderate intervention effects on maternal feeding practices, interactions were tested. There was a significant interaction between Satiety Responsiveness and study group on the use of Pressure (p=0.006). In other words, among children with higher Satiety Responsiveness, the RP intervention was associated with lower maternal use of Pressure compared with controls. There was no interaction between study group and appetitive traits on the use of Monitoring or Restriction. However, Food Responsiveness (p<0.001) was positively associated with Restriction.

Conclusions

The INSIGHT RP intervention was protective against the use of pressure-based feeding practices among children with higher Satiety Responsiveness, whereas Satiety Responsiveness was positively associated with pressure among controls.