Family influences on maternal feeding practices of preschool children from vulnerable families in the Metropolitan Region of Chile

Paulina Molina, Patricia Gálvez, María José Stecher, Marcela Vizcarra, María José Coloma, Andiara Schwingel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore family members’ influences on mothers’ feeding practices of preschoolers in Chilean families residing in vulnerable neighborhoods from the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile. Design: Qualitative study. Location: Nine child care centers in Región Metropolitana, Santiago, Chile. Participants: Twenty-four mothers and one father of preschool children. Method: Photo-elicitation techniques were applied to 25 semi-structured interviews and their subsequent inductive thematic analysis of family influences. Results: The participants described that the family influences on their feeding practices depended on the family structure and the interpersonal closeness between relatives. Some influences directly affected child eating behavior, especially in relatives who live together, while others were mediated by the relationships generated between parents and other members of the family. Fathers, in two-parent families, and grandparents are the most influential relatives on the participants’ feeding practices. Generally, fathers participated and were in line with the mother's feeding practices of their children. Grandparents enriched their grandchildren's eating experiences by offering homemade preparations, expressing affection with food, including unhealthy options, and supporting parents to diversifying and structuring feeding practices. Conclusions: According to their interpersonal closeness or cohabitation, parental feeding practices and child eating behaviors were impacted by family members and their dynamics. The development of strategies to prevent and treat childhood obesity should consider a family approach in vulnerable families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102122
JournalAtencion Primaria
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Child
  • Family
  • Feeding behavior
  • Preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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