Parents' binge eating, restrictive feeding practices may be reactions to kids' emotions

Posted on April 1, 2016

Photo: flickr

A new study of more than 440 parents and their preschoolers offers insight into why some parents who binge eat also may try to restrict their children's food intake, placing their children at higher risk for unhealthy eating habits and weight problems.

Parents who reported feeling distress when their child was angry, crying or fearful were more likely to engage in episodes of binge eating - and to limit the amounts or types of food they provided to their children, University of Illinois researchers found.

"We think there are two possible reasons why that was happening: Parents who binge eat may be so focused on trying to control their own distress that they might struggle to respond sensitively to their children's emotions and to their cues of hunger or satiety," the lead author Jaclyn A. Saltzman, a doctoral researcher in human development and family studies and scholar in the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program said.

"Having trouble in sensitivity to the children's emotions was leading to trouble with sensitivity to the children's hunger in the feeding environment. It also could have been possible that parents who binge eat were trying to help their children avoid engaging in the same type of behavior, so they may have restricted the children's intake in an effort to curb excessive overeating behavior," Saltzman said.

Category(s):Eating Disorders, Parenting

Source material from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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