Poster Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 402

P13-145 - Caregiver´s Underestimation of Child Nutritional Status Is Associated with Authoritarian Feeding

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Objectives. Underestimation of child weight status (CWS) can affect child-caregiver interactions in feeding contexts, which may further impact children´s developing eating habits. This study´s objectives are to 1) examine caregivers´ perceptions of the weight status of children between 3-to-5 years old, and 2) investigate whether these perceptions are associated with caregiver’s feeding styles (FS) in Chile.

Methods. In 2017, 87 caregiver-child dyads were recruited from 7 childcare settings serving low- and middle-income families in Santiago, Chile. Data collection included caregiver questionnaires, and weight and height were measured for both children and caregivers. The Caregiver Feeding Style Questionnaire was used to categorize FS (permissive: authoritative & authoritarian; non-permissive: indulgent & uninvolved); parents indicated their perceptions of CWS (underweight, normal, overweight and obese). For actual CWS, children’s weight and height were compared to 2006 WHO Child Growth Standard. Agreement between actual and perceived CWS by sex was compared through Chi-square tests. A logistic regression was conducted to ascertain the association between caregiver´s perception of CWS (independent variable) and non/permissive FS (dependent variable). The significance level was set to .05 in the statistical analyses.

Results. Half of the children had normal weight status (48.3%), while 35.6% had overweight and 15.4% had obesity. The agreement between the actual and the perceived CWS was 52.9%. Caregivers underestimated CWS (46.9%). There was no caregivers that overestimated CWS. Agreement between actual and perceived CWS by sex was not significant (p = .82). Caregivers that underestimated CWS were 4.7 times more likely to have permissive FS (OR = 4.7, 95% CI: 1.6, 13.2, p < .05).

Conclusions. The underestimation of CWS was highly prevalent among caregivers and was linked to permissive patterns of feeding. This research is a vital preliminary exploration for further understanding of modifiable cultural factors associated to feeding practices and CWS, which may impact developing eating habits and weight related outcomes in the crucial stage of early childhood.

Funding Source: Tinker Fellowship granted by CLACS UIUC

CoAuthors: María José Stecher, B.Sc., Nutritionist and Dietitian, MPH – JUNJI, Chile; Nicole Fermandois, Bachelor in nursing – Hospital Clínico, U. de Chile; Liliana Aguayo, BA, International Studies & Political Science – University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Andiara Schwingel, M.Sc, PhD – University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Marcela C. Vizcarra

Graduate student, Community Health
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois