Caregiver styles of feeding and child acceptance of food in rural Viet Nam

Pham Bich Ha, Margaret E. Bentley, Helena Pachón, Teerada Sripaipan, Laura E. Caulfield, David R. Marsh, Dirk G. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Style of child feeding may be an important determinant of child nutrition and health outcomes. Responsive feeding refers to the level and kind of interaction between caregiver and child that lead to a positive feeding experience, adequate dietary intake, and enhanced developmental opportunities. Responsive feeding behaviors may include active physical help and verbalization during feeding, role-playing, persistence, and positive feeding strategies. The aim of this study was to investigate styles of feeding among Vietnamese children 12 or 17 months of age from a rural province in northern Viet Nam. Forty child/ mother pairs were videotaped during two, two-hour feeding episodes. Caregiver and child behaviors were coded at the level of the "intended bite" as observed through the videotape analysis of feeding episodes to assess caregiver behavior and the child's interest and acceptance of food. We found it feasible to use videotape and the modified coding and analysis scheme, originally developed for work in Peru, in Viet Nam. In Viet Nam, caregivers provided physical help to eat nearly all of the time for the younger children, and about 70% of the time among 17 month olds. Caregivers verbalized during only 30% of intended bites, and only half of these verbalizations were responsive in tone or words. Positive caregiver behaviors were significantly associated with higher child acceptance of food, while non-responsive feeding behaviors were associated with child rejection of food. Future analyses of this data set will evaluate the degree to which an integrated nutrition program positively modified caretaker behaviors. More research is needed to demonstrate the relationships among the promotion of responsive feeding behaviors, acceptance of food, and improved nutrition and health status of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalFood and nutrition bulletin
Issue number4 SUPP
StatePublished - Dec 2002


  • Diet
  • Infant feeding
  • Nutrition and care
  • Parental feeding styles
  • Videotaping
  • Viet Nam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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