To better explore possible factors that may lead to childhood obesity, we developed and analyzed two new instruments that assess maternal feeding practices and beliefs. The Infant Feeding Questionnaire (IFQ) assesses feeding during the entire first year of life and was administered to 453 mothers of children 11 to 23 months old. The Preschooler Feeding Questionnaire (PFQ) assesses feeding of young children between the ages of 2 to 5 years and was administered to 634 mothers of children this age. Each questionnaire was factor analyzed and mean factor scores were calculated and linked with the children's measured and mothers' self-reported weight and height. Mean factor scores from the IFQ and PFQ were compared between mothers who were obese (body mass index ≥30 kg/m2) and those who were nonobese, between those who did and those who did not have an overweight child (weight-for-height ≥90th percentile), and between those who had a low income (≤185% of the poverty level) and those who had a high income. To control for confounding variables and to detect interaction among variables, hierarchical linear regression was used. Results from this study did not suggest that there is a particular "feeding style" that is associated with overweight in young children; however, there were differences found in feeding behaviors between high and low income mothers.
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville (BAUGHCUM)
Division of Psychology, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Medical Center, and Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio (POWERS)
Center for Pediatric Psychology and Family Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (JOHNSON)
Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati (CHAMBERLIN)
General Clinical Research Center, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati (DEEKS)
Section of General Pediatrics, University of Chicago School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois (JAIN)
Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Medical Center, and Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio (WHITAKER)
Address for Reprints: Robert C. Whitaker, M.D., M.P.H., Children's Hospital Medical Center, Division of General and Community Pediatrics Research Center, TCHRF-6527, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039.
Acknowledgment. We would like to thank the families that participated in this study. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the clinic staff, physicians, and administrators of the Kentucky Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and the Cincinnati Pediatric Research Group (CPRG) for their willingness to assist us. We also would like to thank the writing workshop group in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida, under the direction of Alexandra Quittner, Ph.D., for their editing input on earlier draft versions of these manuscripts. Additionally, we would like to thank Thomas G. DeWitt, M.D., for his efforts in developing the CPRG, Kathleen Burklow, Ph.D., for her contributions to the early development of these questionnaires, and Jeffrey A. Wright, M.D., Deborah Bogen, M.D., and Hillary Burdette, M.D., for their careful reviews of these manuscripts. This work was supported by the Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey, (Dr. Whitaker) and by a grant from the International Life Sciences Institute Center for Health Promotion (Dr. Whitaker).