Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Anita J. Hunter, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN, Chairperson; Kathy Shadle James, DNSc, RN, CNP; Susan L. Instone, DNSc, APRN, CPNP


children & youth, Mexican, Mexican Americans, nursing, Overweight, parents & parenting


The prevalence of childhood overweight (OW) continues to rise and children from low-income, Mexican or Mexican-American families are disproportionately affected. The preschool years have been identified as a critical period for excessive weight gain and during this time children respond to parental cues as they form their early eating habits. Certain parenting styles have been associated with improved health outcomes in children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship of parenting styles and feeding practices to the Mexican or Mexican-American preschool child's risk of overweight. Interdependence Theory was used to inform this study to understand the interaction affect of social influence, interpersonal communication, and behavior. An exploratory research study was performed to determine if parental feeding styles were related to higher child BMI scores of the targeted preschool child. A convenience sample of 80 Mexican or Mexican-American female and male caregiver dyads completed a demographic, health profile, and the Caregiver's Feeding Style Questionnaire (CFSQ). Data analysis revealed there were no differences between the female and the male caregiver's feeding styles; no association between the female or male caregiver's feeding style and the child's BMI; significant relationships between the child's BMI, male caregiver's residency in the U.S., length of time on WIC, and female caregiver's BMI. The authoritarian and the indulgent feeding styles were most commonly used in this sample population; yet, parents who demonstrated an authoritative style, though not statistically significant, had children with a lower mean BMI percentile score. These findings provide evidence that generalizations regarding parenting styles and feeding practices in the Mexican or Mexican-American population should not be assumed. Instead, underlying parenting styles should be addressed especially in interventions aimed at making healthy behavioral changes within the family.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons