Increased Attentional Bias towards Food Pictures in Overweight and Obese Children | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2375-4494

Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior
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Research Article

Increased Attentional Bias towards Food Pictures in Overweight and Obese Children

Anne Koch1*, Ellen Matthias2 and Olga Pollatos2

1Department of Psychology, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Potsdam, Germany

2Department of Health Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Germany

*Corresponding Author:
Anne Koch
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Human Sciences
University of Potsdam, Germany
Tel: +49 331 977 2762
Fax: +49 331 977 2793
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: April 3, 2014; Accepted Date: April 24, 2014; Published Date: April 30, 2014

Citation: Anne Koch, Ellen Matthias and Olga Pollatos (2014) Increased Attentional Bias towards Food Pictures in Overweight and Obese Children. J Child Adolesc Behav 2:130. doi: 10.4172/2375-4494.1000130

Copyright: © 2014 Koch A, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Objective: Childhood overweight is related to higher sensitivity for external food cues and less responsiveness towards internal satiety signals. Thus, cognitive psychological models assume an enhanced food attention bias underlying overeating behavior. Nevertheless, this question has only been sparsely investigated so far in younger children and it remains open whether restrained eating behavior plays a correlative role. Methods: The present study investigated this specific information processing bias for food relevant stimuli in 34 overweight children between 6 and 10 years and 34 normal weight children matched for age, sex and socioeconomic status. Children completed a computerized Food Picture Interference task that assessed reaction time interference effects towards high and low calorie food pictures. Level of hunger and restrained eating were assessed via self-report. Results: Results indicated that while finding no group difference in general processing speed or hunger level before the task, overweight children showed a higher attentional bias to food pictures than normal weight children. No effect of caloric density was found. However, surprisingly, the interference effect was negatively related to restrained eating in the overweight group only. Conclusion: The found hypersensitivity for food cues independent of calorie content in overweight children appears to be related to dysfunctional eating, so that future research should consider strategies for attentional retraining.