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Using confidence interval-based estimation of relevance to explore bottom-up and top-down determinants of problematic eating behavior in children and adolescents with obesity from a dual pathway perspective

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents is high, not only in Western countries but also in developing countries. Efforts to improve prevention and treatment programs are needed. Given their essential role in weight problems, knowledge of determinants of problematic eating behavior ('External Eating' and 'Emotional Eating') is crucial for intervention development. Inspired by Appelhans' Dual Process Theory of Eating Behavior, the present study evaluated the importance of top-down regulative capacities and bottom-up reactivity, using the CIBER approach. CIBER is an innovative statistical approach to test the importance of behavior determinants, based on confidence intervals, instead of significance testing of point estimates. Survey data on different aspects of executive functioning (as indices of regulative capacities: Inhibition, Cognitive Flexibility, Emotional Control, Initiation, Working Memory, Planning/Organizing, Organization of materials, and Monitoring) and reward sensitivity (as an index of reactivity) were collected in a large sample of children and adolescents (n = 572) with severe obesity (adjBMI > 180%). Results showed that Emotional Eating is determined by Emotional Control, while External Eating is determined by Reward Sensitivity. The finding that differential mechanisms underlie different aspects of problematic eating suggests the need for using tailored intervention techniques to address altered reactivity and weak regulative capacities.
Journal: Appetite
ISSN: 0195-6663
Volume: 150
Number of pages: 1
Publication year:2020