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Self-control training supplementing inpatient multidisciplinary obesity treatment in children and adolescents

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Research points to self-control as a possible mechanism for facilitating health behaviour and weight loss. The dual pathway model underpins the role of strong bottom-up reactivity towards food and weak top-down executive functions in obesity. Despite flourishing lab studies on attention bias modification or inhibition trainings, relatively few focused on training both processes to improve self-control in children and adolescents in inpatient multidisciplinary obesity treatment (MOT). Being part of the WELCOME project, this study investigated the effectiveness of Brain Fitness training (using the Dot Probe and Go/No-Go) as an adjunct to inpatient MOT in 131 Belgian children and adolescents. Changes in self-control (performance-based inhibitory control and attention bias as well as self-reported eating behaviour) in the experimental group were compared to sham training. Multiple Imputation was used to handle missing data. Inhibitory control and external eating improved over time (pre/post/follow-up), but we found no evidence for a significant interaction between time and condition. Future research should pay more attention to the role of individual variability in baseline self-control, sham training, and ecological validity of self-control training to improve real-life health behaviour and treatment perspectives for children and adolescents with weight problems.
ISSN: 1873-622X
Volume: 167
Publication year:2023