Can We Be Trained to Eat Healthy? The Effects of an Attentional Bias Modification Program on Eating Behavior
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The prevalence of overweight (OW) and obesity (OB) has significantly increased over the past four decades. OW and OB are complex in nature and arise from a multitude of factors and their interactive effects. Based on etiological models of OW and OB, interventions to reduce excess body weight have been developed, including population- and individual-level approaches. Current interventions are limited, however, in that they lack focus on how environmental factors (e.g., food cues) interact with biology (e.g., neural reward systems) to influence individual health-related behaviors (e.g., food consumption) through mechanisms such as attentional bias. Attentional bias modification (ABM) programs have been developed to train individuals to either attend to or avoid certain food cues in the environment, yet research in this area is underdeveloped. The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate the effect of a single-session ABM training designed to promote healthy eating on eating behavior as a potential intervention that targets an individual’s response to the obesogenic environment. This dissertation addressed the limitations of previous ABM studies in that it examined differential effects of the program on attention to food cues and eating behavior among individuals with varying body mass indices (i.e., healthy weight vs. OW/OB).
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of the literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Screening questionnaire -- Appendix B. Study information sheet consent form -- Appendix C. Demographics questionnaire -- Appendix D. Three-factor eating questionnaire -- Appendix E. Food rating scale