Providers' response to child eating behaviors: A direct observation study.
Child care providers play an important role in feeding young children, yet little is known about children's influence on providers' feeding practices. This qualitative study examines provider and child (18 months -4 years) feeding interactions. Trained data collectors observed 200 eating occasions in 48 family child care homes and recorded providers' responses to children's meal and snack time behaviors. Child behaviors initiating provider feeding practices were identified and practices were coded according to higher order constructs identified in a recent feeding practices content map. Analysis examined the most common feeding practices providers used to respond to each child behavior. Providers were predominately female (100%), African-American (75%), and obese (77%) and a third of children were overweight/obese (33%). Commonly observed child behaviors were: verbal and non-verbal refusals, verbal and non-verbal acceptance, being "all done", attempts for praise/attention, and asking for seconds. Children's acceptance of food elicited more autonomy supportive practices vs. coercive controlling. Requests for seconds was the most common behavior, resulting in coercive controlling practices (e.g., insisting child eat certain food or clean plate). Future interventions should train providers on responding to children's behaviors and helping children become more aware of internal satiety and hunger cues.
Tovar, A; Vaughn, AE; Fallon, M; Hennessy, E; Burney, R; Østbye, T; Ward, DS
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