Patterns of maternal feeding and child eating associated with eating disorders in the Norwegian mother and child cohort study (MOBA) Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Reba-Harrelson, Lauren E.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Mothers with eating disorders (EDs) and their children are an at-risk group. This study explored the impact of broadly defined EDs on maternal feeding practices and children's eating behaviors and psychological symptoms in a sample of 13,006 births in Norway. The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study ("Den norske mor og barn undersøkelsen" - MoBa) is a prospective population-based study of 100,000 births throughout Norway. We compared: (1) self-reported feeding attitudes and practices in mothers with EDs across diagnostic subtypes (anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and mothers with no EDs and (2) maternal reported eating behaviors and psychological symptoms in these mother's 36 month old children. ED status was measured at 6 months prior to pregnancy or during pregnancy (assessed 17 weeks prenatal). Self-reported maternal restrictive feeding was higher in mothers with BN and BED than those with no ED. Mothers with BED were more likely to endorse pushy feeding and use of food as a reward than those without an ED. Mothers with BN and BED were more likely to report infant eating problems than mothers without EDs. Compared to those with no ED, maternal reported symptoms of child anxiety were higher among those with BN, and child OCD symptoms were higher among those with BN and BED; no differences emerged regarding reported child depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that mothers with some EDs, on average, differ from mothers without in how they feed their children and that their children display different eating behaviors than children of mothers without eating disorders. The cycle of risk associated with transmission of ED from mother to child is a salient public health concern and an important approach to unravel the interactive effects of genetic and environmental influences.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Bulik, Cynthia
  • Open access

This work has no parents.