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Caregiver feeding practices and weight status among African American adolescents: The Jackson Heart KIDS Pilot Study

Burton, E. Thomaseo, Wilder, Tanganyika, Beech, Bettina M., Bruce, Marino A.
Eating behaviors 2017 v.27 pp. 33-38
African Americans, adolescence, adolescents, attitudes and opinions, body mass index, boys, cardiovascular diseases, caregivers, children, eating habits, foods, girls, health behavior, morbidity, obesity, parenting, questionnaires, regression analysis, waist circumference, youth, Mississippi
Adolescence is a stage in the life course during which youth become more autonomous in their health behaviors. Overweight and obesity during this developmental period are associated with short- and long-term physical and emotional morbidity, and African American youth are at pronounced risk for these health outcomes. The style of parenting employed by caregivers influences health behaviors in children, though the persistence of this influence into adolescence is not clear. This study examined associations among caregiver feeding practices, body mass index z-score (zBMI), and waist circumference (WC) in a cohort of 212 African American adolescents (50.5% girls; Mage=15.16years). Participants were children and grandchildren of individuals enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study, a prospective epidemiologic evaluation of cardiovascular disease among African Americans based in Jackson, Mississippi. Youth zBMI and WC were primary outcomes, and caregivers completed the Child Feeding Questionnaire, an assessment of attitudes, beliefs, and practices related to obesity proneness. Regression analyses revealed that while controlling caregiver feeding practices were associated with zBMI and WC, perceived responsibility for the type and amount of food provided to adolescents was not related to weight status. Among younger adolescents, more oversight of their eating practices was related to higher zBMI. Similarly, boys whose intake of unhealthy foods was restricted were more likely to have higher zBMI and WC. Results suggest that caregiver feeding practices continue to be associated with weight status during adolescence, and underscore the importance of culturally and developmentally appropriate prevention and intervention efforts targeting overweight and obesity.