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Cause or consequence? Investigating attention bias and self-regulation skills in children at risk for obesity

MPG-Autoren
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons199142

Mehl,  Nora
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
MaxNetAging Research School, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons19734

Horstmann,  Annette
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany;
Collaborative Research Center Obesity Mechanisms, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Zitation

Mehl, N., Bergmann, S., Klein, A. M., Daum, M. M., von Klitzing, K., & Horstmann, A. (2017). Cause or consequence? Investigating attention bias and self-regulation skills in children at risk for obesity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 155, 113-127. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2016.11.003.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-B8A2-3
Zusammenfassung
Impaired self-regulation, especially in food-specific situations, has been linked to childhood obesity. These deficits may be acquired during the development of obesity rather than being a prerequisite thereof. The current study hence focused on an at risk population vs. controls: Normal-weight children of obese and normal-weight parents were tested regarding attentional flexibility, emotion regulation and inhibitory control. 50 preschoolers of obese (n=25) or normal-weight parents (n=25) participated in this study. Through eye-tracking, attentional bias for food cues was measured during a visual probe task using food and toy images. Emotion regulation was assessed during a distress evoking task and inhibitory control was examined through a delay of gratification task. Both tasks are standardized and were conducted in non-food contexts. Results showed no significant group differences in overall attentional bias to food images over toy images. However, children of normal-weight parents showed a preference for toy images. Regarding emotion regulation, children in the risk group expressed significantly less overall emotional distress. Also, less gaze aversion and bodily sadness could be observed in this group. No differences were found for inhibitory control. Findings suggest that general deficits in self-regulation are not yet present in normal-weight children at risk for obesity. Instead, they might develop as a byproduct of unhealthy weight gain. Results indicate, however, that children of obese parents are less emotionally expressive compared to children of normal-weight parents. Further, children of normal-weight parents appeared more interested in toy images than in food images.