Although parents often report positive intentions to promote and create a healthy food environment for their children (e.g., setting limits to snacks offered), they also experience difficulties in translating these intentions into actual behaviors. In this position paper, we argue that automatic processes explain an important part of the gap between parents’ intentions and their actual food parenting behaviors. We provide a conceptual framework in which we hypothesize that automatic effects on food parenting occur through two key interrelated constructs: habits (key outcome construct) and volitional regulation behaviors (key mediating construct). Moreover, we discuss potentially important impulse-focused techniques that may directly change habits (e.g., nudging; inhibitory control training) or indirectly through volitional regulation behaviors (e.g., implementation intentions; mental contrasting). We make use of the literature on the role of intention-behavior discordance in general health behaviors and discuss implications for food parenting practices. Our framework provides a dual process view towards food parenting and may help to explain when and why parents are likely to engage in (un)healthy food parenting behaviors. In addition, this framework may hopefully stimulate research on (combinations of old and) new techniques to promote good food parenting behaviors.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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