Fathers' food parenting: A scoping review of the literature from 1990 to 2019

Kirsten K. Davison, Jess Haines, Evelin A. Garcia, Sabrina Douglas, Brent McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: While food parenting is a robust area of inquiry, studies have largely focused on mothers. Given the diversity of family structures today and increases in fathers' engagement in caregiving, fathers' food parenting warrants attention. Objective: We present a scoping review of research on fathers' food parenting (1990-2019). Eligible studies included peer-reviewed research published in English documenting fathers' food parenting and presenting results for fathers separate from mothers. Results: Seventy-seven eligible studies were identified. Most studies were based in the U.S (63.6%) and utilized a cross-sectional design (93.5%). Approximately half of studies used a validated measure of food parenting (54.5%) and slightly less than 30% utilized theory (28.6%). Many studies did not report information on fathers' residential status (37.7%) or their relationship to the target child (biological vs social) (63.6%). Content analysis of study findings showed that: fathers are involved in food parenting, but at lower levels than mothers; there are few consistent mother-father differences in food parenting practices; and fathers' controlling food parenting is linked with negative nutrition outcomes in children while responsive food parenting is linked with positive child outcomes. Conclusion: To better inform family interventions to prevent childhood obesity, future food parenting research with fathers should recognize the diversity of family structures and utilize prospective, theory-based, designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12654
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • child feeding
  • childhood obesity
  • nutrition
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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