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Perceived child eating behaviours and maternal migrant background

Maria Somaraki, Karin Eli, Kimmo Sorjonen, Carl-Erik Flodmark, Claude Marcus, Myles S. Faith, Christine Persson Osowski, Anna Ek, Paulina Nowicka
Appetite 2018 v.125 pp. 302-313
avoidance behavior, children, food choices, gender, higher education, mothers, obesity, overeating, questionnaires, regression analysis, satiety, undereating, Middle East, Northern Africa, South America, South East Asia, Southern European region, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sweden, Western European region
The Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ) is a well-established instrument in the study of obesity-related eating behaviours among children. However, research using the CEBQ in multicultural samples is limited. This study aims to identify and examine differences in child eating behaviours as reported by Swedish-born and non-Swedish-born mothers living in Sweden. Mothers (n = 1310, 74 countries of origin, mean age 36.5 years, 63.6% with higher education, 29.2% with overweight or obesity) of children aged 3–8 years (mean age 4.8 years, 18.1% with overweight or obesity) completed the CEBQ. Responses were analysed using CEBQ subscales Food Responsiveness, Emotional Overeating, Enjoyment of Food, and Desire to Drink, clustering into Food Approach, and subscales Satiety Responsiveness, Slowness in Eating, Emotional Undereating, and Food Fussiness, clustering into Food Avoidance. Data were compared across seven regional groups, divided by maternal place of birth: (1) Sweden (n = 941), (2) Nordic and Western Europe (n = 68), (3) Eastern and Southern Europe (n = 97), (4) the Middle East and North Africa (n = 110), (5) East, South and Southeast Asia (n = 52), (6) Sub-Saharan Africa (n = 16), and (7) Central and South America (n = 26). Crude, partly and fully adjusted linear regression models controlled for child's age, gender and weight status, and mother's education, weight status and concern about child weight. The moderation effect of maternal concern about child weight was examined through interaction analyses. Results showed that while Food Approach and Food Avoidance behaviours were associated with maternal migrant background, associations for Food Fussiness were limited. Notably, mothers born in the Middle East and North Africa reported higher frequencies of both Food Approach (except for Enjoyment of Food) and Food Avoidance. The study highlights the importance of examining how regionally-specific maternal migrant background affects mothers' perceptions of child eating behaviours.