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Open AccessArticle

Comparison of Early Feeding Practices in Mother–Father Dyads and Possible Generalization of an Efficacious Maternal Intervention to Fathers’ Feeding Practices: A Secondary Analysis

1
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4059, Australia
2
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4059, Australia
3
School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, QLD, 4014, Australia
4
School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
5
Judith Lumley Centre, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia
6
Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
7
School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4059, Australia
8
Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4068, Australia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6075; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176075
Received: 1 August 2020 / Accepted: 17 August 2020 / Published: 20 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parenting, Feeding and Child Eating Behaviors: A Complex Interplay)
To compare feeding practices within mother–father dyads and explore whether outcomes of an efficacious intervention for mothers generalised to fathers’ feeding practices. The NOURISH RCT evaluated an early feeding intervention that promoted positive feeding practices to support development of healthy eating habits and growth. The intervention was delivered to first-time mothers via 2 × 12 week modules commencing when children were 4 and 14 months. Mothers self-reported feeding practice outcomes at child age 2 years using validated scales (1 = low to 5 = high) from the Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ). Nine months later, an independent cross-sectional descriptive study to investigate fathers’ feeding practices was initiated. Fathers were recruited by contacting (via letter) mothers participating in two pre-existing studies, including the NOURISH trial. Fathers completed a feeding practices questionnaire, similar to that used for NOURISH outcome assessments. Seventy-five fathers recruited via the NOURISH cohort (21% response) returned questionnaires. Response data from this subset of fathers were then linked to the corresponding NOURISH maternal data. Complete data were available from 70 dyads. Compared with mothers, fathers self-reported higher concern about child overweight (2.2 vs. 1.3), restriction (3.6 vs. 2.9) and pressure (2.6 vs. 2.1), all p < 0.001. Fathers whose partners were allocated to the intervention group used less pressure (mean difference 0.46, p = 0.045) and were more willing to let the child decide how much to eat (−0.51, p = 0.032). Fathers’ higher concern about child weight and more frequent use of non-responsive feeding practices, when compared with mothers, identify them as potentially potent contributors to child feeding. This preliminary evidence for modest generalisation of an efficacious maternal intervention to apparent effects on some paternal feeding practices speaks to the importance and promise of including fathers in early feeding interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: fathers; mothers; child feeding practices; intervention fathers; mothers; child feeding practices; intervention
MDPI and ACS Style

Daniels, L.A.; Mallan, K.M.; Jansen, E.; Nicholson, J.M.; Magarey, A.M.; Thorpe, K. Comparison of Early Feeding Practices in Mother–Father Dyads and Possible Generalization of an Efficacious Maternal Intervention to Fathers’ Feeding Practices: A Secondary Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6075.

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