Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Alison Tovar

Abstract

Background: Food parenting practices play an important role in the development of a child’s eating behaviors, and subsequent weight status early in life. Yet studies to modify and improve these practices are limited. This study explored the feasibility and acceptability of a novel home-based motivational interviewing (MI) intervention designed to modify and improve the food parenting practices of low-income mothers.

Methods: Mother-child dyads (N=15) were recruited from a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office in southern Rhode Island. A non-experimental, pretest–posttest design was used to assess changes in maternal food parenting practices. Dyads participated in three home-based sessions that included baseline measures and an evening meal video recording at session 1, an MI intervention that included feedback on the evening meal video recording at session 2, and a satisfaction questionnaire at session 3. Pretest–posttest measures included five subscales of the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire.

Results: Fifteen mother-child dyads (mothers: 32.3, SD = 4.6 years, 86.7% White; children: 3.2, SD = 0.9 years, male = 73.3%, 66.7% White) completed the study. Paired-samples t-tests showed a statistically significant decrease in the use of ‘food as reward’ (p = 0.03). Ninety-three percent of mothers ‘strongly agreed’ that it was worth their effort to participate in the study. Sixty percent ‘strongly agreed’ that the study increased their interest in learning to feed their child in healthy ways.

Conclusion: Home-based MI interventions may be an effective strategy for modifying maternal food parenting practices in low-income populations. Most mothers found that watching themselves was “eye-opening” and applicable to their own lives.

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