Specificity of the failure to inhibit responses in overweight children

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Abstract

Poor response inhibition has been associated with obesity, excessive food intake, and other consumptive behaviours, including alcohol use. However, the correlation between obesity and addictive behaviours like alcoholism is low: people who are obese appear to have a specific problem in restraining food intake. This would imply that obese people have more difficulties in inhibiting responses towards food, compared to other rewarding stimuli. In the present study eighty-nine children (ages 7-9) were tested with the stop signal task, in which responses towards food pictures or toy pictures had to be inhibited. Results showed that children were less effective in inhibiting responses towards food and percentage overweight predicted a lower ability to inhibit responses in general. When dichotomizing the sample in overweight and lean children, it appeared that overweight children were specifically less effective in inhibition towards food cues, compared to lean children. In conclusion: The results confirm weight related inhibitory problems and might explain the increased overeating to food cues in overweight children, as reported in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-413
JournalAppetite
Volume59
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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