Parental Feeding Beliefs and Practices and Household Food Insecurity in Infancy

Colin J. Orr, Maureen Ben-Davies, Sophie N. Ravanbakht, H. Shonna Yin, Lee M. Sanders, Russell L. Rothman, Alan M. Delamater, Charles T. Wood, Eliana M. Perrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Food insecurity is associated with childhood obesity possibly mediated through caregiver feeding practices and beliefs. We examined if caregiver feeding practices differed by household food security status in a diverse sample of infants. We hypothesized that feeding practices differ based on food security status. Patients and methods: Included in the baseline cross-sectional analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial to prevent obesity were 842 caregivers of 2-month-old infants presenting for well-child care at 4 academic institutions. Food insecurity exposure was based on an affirmative answer to 1 of 2 items in a 2-item validated questionnaire. Chi-square tests examined the association between parent feeding practices and food security status. Logistic regression adjusted for covariates. Differences in caregiver feeding practices by food security status and race/ethnicity were explored with an interaction term (food security status x race/ethnicity). Results: Forty-three percent of families screened as food insecure. In adjusted logistic regression, parents from food-insecure households were more likely to endorse that “the best way to make an infant stop crying is to feed him or her” (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28–2.29) and “when my baby cries, I immediately feed him or her” (aOR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.06–1.83). Food-insecure caregivers less frequently endorsed paying attention to their baby when he or she is full or hungry (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.34–0.96). Racial/ethnic differences in beliefs and behaviors were observed by food security status. Conclusions: During early infancy, feeding practices differed among caregivers by household food security status. Further research is needed to examine whether these practices are associated with increased risk of obesity and obesity-related morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • food insecurity
  • infants
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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