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APPETItE Findings

Published Work

A new APPETItE study looking at the eating styles of parents/caregivers in the UK

This study looked at the eating behaviours of parents/caregivers in the UK using a method called Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) to identify different eating styles in parents and see how the parent’s eating style was related to the child's eating style and if feeding practices played a role in this relationship.

We found that generally parents eating style fell into four styles of eating:

  1. Parents with ‘Typical Eating’ (41.4% of our sample) reported a range of typical eating habits without extreme behaviours.

  2. Parents with ‘Avid Eating’ (37.3% of our sample) displayed high food approach traits such as eating in response to food cues in the environment and their emotions, rather than hunger signals.

  3. Parents with ‘Emotional Eating’ (15.7% of our sample) reported eating in response to emotions rather than hunger but did not necessarily enjoy food as much as individuals with avid eating behaviour.

  4. Parents with ‘Avoidant Eating’ (5.6% of our sample) reported being very selective with food and having a low enjoyment of eating.

Parents with more avid or avoidant eating styles were likely to have children who displayed similar eating styles. Some of the links between a parent’s eating style and their child’s eating style could be explained by how the parent fed their child. Parents with an avid or emotional eating style who used food to soothe or comfort their child were more likely to report avid eating behaviour in their child. Whereas, providing a varied and balanced range of foods in the home reduced the likelihood that a parent’s emotional or avid eating behaviour would be apparent in their child’s eating behaviour.

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