Professor of Preventive Medicine
PI Cardiovascular Epidemiology Group
Monday, 19th March, 2018
Does maternal history of eating disorders predict mothers’ feeding practices and preschoolers’ emotional eating?
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Fussy eating is an issue that affects many families with young children.Read more
We aimed to examine whether a maternal history of eating disorders predicted mothers’ feeding practices and preschoolers’ emotional eating patterns. Data were available from 4851 mothers and their children, who participated in a Dutch population-based cohort study (the Generation R Study). Maternal history of lifetime eating disorders was assessed during pregnancy using a self-report questionnaire. Mothers filled out the Child Feeding Questionnaire and the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire when children were four years old. Linear regression analyses were performed, adjusting for potential confounders. Of all mothers, 8.6% had a history of an eating disorder (2.5% anorexia nervosa (AN); 3.9% bulimia nervosa (BN); 2.2% both AN and BN). Compared to mothers without a history of eating disorders, mothers with a history of eating disorders, in particular AN, used less pressuring feeding strategies (standardized B = -0.30; 95% CI: -0.49, -0.11). Children of mothers with a history of AN had relatively high levels of emotional overeating (standardized B = 0.19; 95% CI: 0.00, 0.39). Maternal history of BN was not related to mothers’ feeding practices or children’s emotional eating. Overall, the levels of emotional overeating among children of mothers with a history of eating disorders are noteworthy, particularly considering the young age (4 years) of participating children. This finding may reflect an effect of maternal eating disorders on the development of disordered eating patterns, but could also be subject to mothers’ perception.