Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center

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Recent Findings:

Executive functioning in a racially diverse sample of children who are overweight and at risk for eating disorders

     The purpose of this study was to examine executive functioning in children with overweight/obesity and periodic loss of control eating episodes (characterized by feelings of being unable to control what or how much one is eating). Executive functioning describes cognitive activities directed towards achieving a desired goal and involves a range of processes such as decision-making, planning, attention, problem-solving, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility (ability to switch between or simultaneously engage with concepts/tasks), among others. There is research showing that adults with eating- and weight-related problems have poorer executive functioning than their peers, but limited data exist in children. We administered a range of cognitive tasks to 26 children with overweight/obesity and loss of control eating, 34 children with overweight/obesity only, and 15 children of non-overweight status. We found that children with overweight/obesity and loss of control eating had poorer working memory (ability to hold information in mind while processing other information) than their overweight and non-overweight peers. Additional, children with overweight/obesity, both with and without loss of control eating, scored worse on a measure of planning than their non-overweight peers. A next step in this research is to understand if helping children improve their performance in these areas can assist them with managing their eating and weight.

Goldschmidt, A.B., et al., 2018. Executive functioning in a racially diverse sample of children who are overweight and at risk for eating disorders. Appetite 124, 43-49. 10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.010

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28323058

 

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Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center

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