Published in Appetite, Volume 177, June 30, 2022.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2022.106148.
The aim of this study was to explore associations between parenting stress, feeding practices, and perceptions of children's eating behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents (n = 284) of children ages 4–6 years completed a cross-sectional online survey during the onset of pandemic-related stay-at-home mandates in the U.S. Parents reported current levels of parenting stress, feeding practices, and child eating behaviors. Parents also reported whether parenting stress had increased, stayed the same, or decreased since prior to the onset of pandemic-related stay-at-home mandates. Greater levels of parenting stress were associated with less desirable feeding practices, including greater odds of high use of food for emotional regulation (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.03–1.08), food as a reward (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02–1.08), and pressure to eat (OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01–1.06), and low use of encouraging a balanced diet (OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01–1.06). Greater levels of parenting stress were also associated with greater perceptions that children exhibited problematic eating behaviors, including greater odds of high food fussiness (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02–1.08) and low enjoyment of food (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02–1.07). For parents who reported their parenting stress had increased, greater parenting stress was associated with more frequent use of pressure to eat (p = .009) and less frequent monitoring their child's diet (p = .028). In conclusion, parenting stress during the pandemic was associated with use of food for emotional and behavioral regulation and perceptions that children exhibited problematic eating behaviors. Further research is needed to understand how to mitigate parenting stress and promote healthy feeding practices during times of crisis.
Kinesiology | Public Health
© 2022 The Author(s)
Number of Pages