Aims The aims of this study were to explore the interrelationship between parenting stress, parental feeding and children eating behaviour and weight outcomes in order to tackle the rapid increased childhood obesity in Hong Kong.
Methods 336 Chinese parents of young children aged 2–7 years from 27 kindergartens were recruited for a cross sectional study. The Parental Feeding Style Questionnaire (PFSQ), Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ) and Parenting Stress Index (PSI-SF) were employed. Young children’s BMI were classified by the IOTF. Path analyses were used for data analysis.
Results Several path models were attempted. The first model indicated that higher parenting stress significantly predicted higher children food responsiveness (Standardized β-coefficient = 0.195, p<0.001) which predicted higher weight status (Standardized β-coefficient = 0.249, p<0.001). Higher parenting stress also predicted higher instrumental feeding (Standardized β-coefficient = 0.294, p<0.001) which predicted lower weight status (Standardized β-coefficient = –0.204, p<0.001). Food responsiveness and instrumental feeding were weakly correlated (r = 0.288, p<0.001). The standardized indirect effects of parenting stress on children’s weight status via food responsiveness (Standardized Sobel’s Z=2.799, p<0.01) and instrumental feeding (Standardized Sobel’s Z=–3.015, p<0.01) were significant. The second model showed higher parenting stress predicted higher emotional feeding (Standardized β-coefficient = 0.242, p<0.001) which predicted higher weight status (Standardized β-coefficient = 0.249, p<0.001).
Conclusions These findings could suggest directions to childhood obesity interventions.