Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Nutrition, Dietetics, Family studies, Social sciences

Publication Details

Appetite 147


The role of fathers in child rearing has changed in recent years due to an increase in maternal employment. Despite this, the majority of research has focused on maternal influences and behaviours in relation to child feeding. Therefore, the aims of the narrative review were: 1) to examine the role and responsibility of fathers in child feeding and the factors associated with paternal responsibility in child feeding; 2) to establish how paternal modelling, paternal diets, and paternal feeding practices relate to children's eating behaviours and dietary intake; and 3) to explore the role of maternal perceptions on paternal feeding roles, as well as how maternal and paternal behaviours relate to children's dietary intake. Firstly, given the limited research, no conclusions can be drawn in relation to the factors associated with fathers' roles. An association with child's gender and age as potential drivers of paternal mealtime behaviours was observed, however more longitudinal research is necessary. In addition, research suggests that the majority of fathers have some responsibility in feeding their child, however, mothers are the primary caregiver and somewhat dictate the level of responsibilities fathers have. Interactions during mealtimes between fathers and their child can both positively and negatively influence children's long-term eating behaviours. Inconsistencies in the literature still prevail in terms of whether the child's diet resembles his fathers or mothers more, however, overall family resemblance is evident. Differences exist between maternal & paternal feeding practices with more coercive feeding practices reported by fathers, suggesting they are a more authoritarian figure during mealtimes than mothers. Overall, it is clear that interventions need to adopt a whole-family approach when tackling children's lifestyle behaviours in order to address the differential influence of both parents.



Department of Agriculture Food and Marine