Associated Demographic Factors of Instrumental and Emotional Feeding in Parents of Hong Kong Children

Kenneth Lo, Calvin Cheung, Albert Lee, Vera Keung, Wilson Tam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background Instrumental and emotional feeding have been associated with obesogenic dietary behaviors and obesity in children. Therefore, identifying parents who are more likely to use detrimental feeding styles may be helpful for tailoring interventions. Objective This study examines the demographic variation of instrumental and emotional feeding by using a sample of the Hong Kong population. Design A cross-sectional research is presented. Instrumental and emotional feeding styles were assessed. Participants A total of 3,742 Hong Kong parents from 27 kindergartens, with children aged 2 to 7 years old, were enrolled in this study. Main outcome measures Instrumental and emotional feeding styles were assessed by a validated Parental Feeding Style Questionnaire. Statistical analysis Differences among the demographic characteristics in parental feeding styles were compared by independent t test or analysis of variance. Multiple linear regressions were performed to determine the associated demographic factors. Results A greater tendency to adopt instrumental feeding was associated with younger children (β=−.07), feeding a daughter (β=.05), and a mother having a full-time job (β=.10). By contrast, a greater tendency to adopt emotional feeding was associated with younger children (β=−.07), feeding a daughter (β=.06), a mother having a full-time job (β=.16), or a lower parental education level (β=−.11). Conclusions Parents with full-time jobs, lower education levels, or who were nurturing a younger child may be more likely to use unhealthy feeding styles. Researchers should consider developing intervention strategies that focus on decreasing emotional and instrumental feeding styles for full-time employed or less-educated parents of younger children, particularly daughters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1925-1931
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood obesity
  • Demographic
  • Health promotion
  • Parental feeding style

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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