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Child eating behaviours and parental feeding practices during the COVID-19 lockdown in France: did they change?

Abstract : Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused France to impose a strict lockdown on its inhabitants for 8 weeks; leaving your home was allowed only under certain circumstances. This unseen situation affected families' habits in various domains. This study wanted to evaluate possible changes in child eating behaviours, parental feeding practices, and parental motivations when shopping food during the lockdown, compared to the period before the lockdown. Methods: Parents of 498 children aged 3-12 years (238 boys, 260 girls; mean age=7.32; SD=2.27) completed an online survey with items from validated questionnaires (e.g., CEDQ, CEBQ, HomeSTEAD). They reported on their (child's) current situation during the lockdown, and retrospectively on the period before the lockdown. Scores were calculated for both periods; thereafter paired student-t-tests were used to compare these scores. For some items, parents directly reported the changes. Results: Many parents reported some changes in their child eating behaviours (60%), their feeding practices (60%), and food shopping motivations (85%). Child appetite, food enjoyment, food responsiveness and emotional overeating significantly increased during the lockdown. Increases in food responsiveness and emotional overeating were significantly correlated to an increase in child boredom at home (r=0.31 and r=0.34 respectively). Parents generally became more permissive when they changed their practices: less rules, more soothing with food, children gained more autonomy in deciding when, what, how much and where to eat. Parents more frequently bought foods their child liked, but also more healthy and sustainable foods. Many parents (66%) prepared more home-cooked meals, and spent more time cooking with their child(ren) (71%). Discussion: The lockdown induced changes in families' eating and feeding habits. Feeding practices became more child-centred and pleasure-oriented: the unusual situation drove some parents to turn a blind eye to the usual rules, and to privilege enjoyment and comfort at home.
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Contributor : Sabine Julien <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 9:45:44 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 8:42:48 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03252988, version 1



Kaat Philippe, Claire Chabanet, Sylvie Issanchou, Sandrine Monnery-Patris. Child eating behaviours and parental feeding practices during the COVID-19 lockdown in France: did they change?. 9. european conference on sensory and consumer research (eurosense), Dec 2020, Rotterdam, Netherlands. ⟨hal-03252988⟩



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