Parental influences on children's eating behaviour and characteristics of successful parent-focussed interventions

Parental reports suggest that difficulties related to child-feeding and children’s eating behaviour are extremely common. While ‘fussy eating’ does not pose an immediate threat to health, over the long-term, consumption of a poor diet can contribute to the development of a range of otherwise preventable diseases. In addition, the stress and anxiety that can surround difficult mealtimes can have a detrimental impact upon both child and parental psychological wellbeing. Since parents have a great influence over what, when, and how much food is offered, feeding difficulties may be preventable by better parental awareness. The aim of this review is to describe how parental factors contribute to the development of common feeding problems, and to discuss the merits of existing interventions aimed at parents/primary caregivers to improve child-feeding and children’s eating behaviour. The potential for different technologies to be harnessed in order to deliver interventions in new ways will also be discussed.