Main content area

Obesogenic food consumption among young children: the role of maltreatment

Jackson, Dylan B, Vaughn, Michael G
Public health nutrition 2019 v.22 no.10 pp. 1840-1849
caregivers, child abuse, children, children at risk, cities, eating habits, food intake, foods, interviews, longitudinal studies, nutrition education, obesity, surveys, United States
To determine whether children exposed to a greater variety of acts of parent-to-child physical and psychological maltreatment will be at greater risk of consuming obesogenic foods at a higher frequency. Survey research using a longitudinal panel design. In-home interviews with primary caregivers in twenty large US cities. A national sample of at-risk children and their families who participated in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). Child maltreatment emerged as a statistically significant (P<0·01) and robust predictor of obesogenic food consumption, in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Child maltreatment also consistently emerged as one of the strongest predictors of obesogenic food consumption in these models. Ancillary analyses indicated that physical maltreatment plays a particularly important role in these associations. A major implication of the present study is that child maltreatment prevention efforts should be reflected in interventions that seek to diminish unhealthy eating practices among children. Multi-professional teams can work together on obesity prevention not only via education but also by considering the interconnectedness of obesogenic food consumption and experiences of maltreatment.