Food cue reactivity, obesity, and impulsivity: are they associated?

Karolien van den Akker, K. Stewart, Evangelia E. Antoniou, A. Palmberg, Anita Jansen

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Heightened reactivity to food-associated cues and impulsive responding to these cues may be important contributors to the obesity epidemic. This article reviews the evidence for a role of food cue reactivity and impulsivity in food intake, body mass index, and weight-loss success. Inconsistencies in defining and measuring these constructs create difficulties in interpreting findings; however, evidence does support their role in obesity. The relationship between food cue reactivity and impulsivity may depend on the measurement used, but some studies have demonstrated that interactions between these constructs rather than direct effects are important in accounting for food intake pattern. Thus, multimodal assessment of both constructs is recommended. Future research would benefit from standardized definitions, measures, procedures, and reporting to enhance comparisons across studies. Implications for therapy are discussed and suggestions for further research are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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