Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Parenting and cooking

Parenting style and child-feeding behaviour in predicting children's weight status change in Taiwan

Ho-Jui Tunga1 c1 and Ming-Chin Yeha2

a1 Department of Healthcare Administration, Asia University, 500 Lioufeng Road, Wufeng, Taichung 41354, Taiwan

a2 Nutrition Program, CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA


Objective The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children is on the rise worldwide. Prior studies find that parents’ child-feeding practices are associated with child weight status and the efficacy of specific parental child-feeding practices can be moderated by parenting styles. In the current longitudinal study, we examined the associations between child-feeding practices and weight status changes over 1 year among a sample of school-aged children in Taiwan.

Design In autumn 2008, a child-feeding questionnaire and parenting-style questionnaire were administered to parents of the second and fourth graders in an elementary school in Taiwan. The weight and height of the students were measured by a trained school nurse in 2008 and again in 2009.

Setting An elementary school in central Taiwan.

Subjects A total of 465 parent–child pairs were included in the analysis.

Results Using a gender- and age-adjusted BMI classification scheme issued by the Taiwan Department of Health, 29·2 % of the students were considered overweight at the 2009 measurement. Controlling for 2008 weight status revealed moderating effects of parenting style on the relationship between child-feeding practices and child weight status. Both authoritative and authoritarian mothers might monitor their children's dietary intake; however, the effectiveness of this practice was better, in terms of weight status control, among the authoritative mothers.

Conclusions Findings suggest that parenting styles have a moderating effect on specific parental child-feeding practices. Parenting styles and parent's feeding practices could be an important focus for future public health interventions addressing the rising childhood obesity epidemic.

(Received April 13 2012)

(Revised November 17 2012)

(Accepted November 25 2012)

(Online publication January 18 2013)


  • Parenting style;
  • Child-feeding practices;
  • Childhood obesity


c1 Corresponding author: Email