Pilot test of a novel food response and attention training treatment for obesity: Brain imaging data suggest actions shape valuation.

Eric Stice, Sonja Yokum, Harm Veling, Eva Kemps, Natalia Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Elevated brain reward and attention region response, and weaker inhibitory region response to high-calorie food images have been found to predict future weight gain. These findings suggest that an intervention that reduces reward and attention region response and increases inhibitory control region response to such foods might reduce overeating. We conducted a randomized pilot experiment that tested the hypothesis that a multi-faceted food response and attention training with personalized high- and low-calorie food images would produce changes in behavioral and neural responses to food images and body fat compared to a control training with non-food images among community-recruited overweight/obese adults. Compared to changes observed in controls, completing the intervention was associated with significant reductions in reward and attention region response to high-calorie food images (Mean Cohen's d = 1.54), behavioral evidence of learning, reductions in palatability ratings and monetary valuation of high-calorie foods (p = 0.009, d's = 0.92), and greater body fat loss over a 4-week period (p = 0.009, d = 0.90), though body fat effects were not significant by 6-month follow-up. Results suggest that this multifaceted response and attention training intervention was associated with reduced reward and attention region responsivity to food cues, and a reduction in body fat. Because this implicit training treatment is both easy and inexpensive to deliver, and does not require top-down executive control that is necessary for negative energy balance obesity treatment, it may prove useful in treating obesity if future studies can determine how to create more enduring effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume94
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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