Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Ock Chun, Kari Adamsons

Field of Study

Nutritional Science


Master of Science

Open Access

Campus Access


Research on the relationship of household food security and participation in nutrition programs on parental feeding style or child’s weight status has overlooked the influence of fathers. This pilot study aimed to investigate 1) the influence of food security status on parental feeding style, 2) the influence of nutrition assistance programs (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)) on parental feeding style, and 3) the influence of nutrition assistance program participation on child weight. Low income pairs of biological parents of preschool (ages 3-5 years) children (n=52) were recruited to participate in a 60 minute interview to complete the United States Department of Agriculture’s Household Food Security Questionnaire, Caregiver Feeding Style and a demographic questionnaire. Height and weight were measured and body mass index (BMI) (adult) and BMI z-scores (child) were calculated. Linear and multinomial logistic regression was conducted. Most parents were non- Hispanic (78% of mothers, 67% of fathers) and married (65.4%). Less than half (40%) of parental pairs had the same feeding style. Parental food security scores were significantly but weakly related (ICC=0.23, p=0.046) within a household but they were not associated with parental feeding style. Father’s participation in SNAP was associated with an increased likelihood of having an uninvolved feeding style (B=.90, OR=6.0, p=0.05). While participation in nutrition assistance or education programs was not directly associated with child weight, a mother’s authoritarian feeding style and participation in SNAP (β=.44, p=0.03) was positively associated with a child’s BMI z-score. Furthermore, fathers with higher food insecurity scores had children with lower BMI z-scores (β=-.31, p=0.03). These data suggest that the relationship of food security status, parental feeding style and participation in nutrition assistance programs is complex but potentially associated with risk of childhood obesity.

Major Advisor

Amy Mobley