Brain response to taste in overweight children: A pilot feasibility studyReport as inadecuate

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Understanding the neural response to food and food cues during early stages of weight gain in childhood may help us determine the drive processes involved in unhealthy eating behavior and risk for obesity. Healthy weight and overweight children ages 6–8 N = 18; 10 with BMI between 5th and 85th %ile and 8 with BMI >85th %ile underwent fMRI scans while anticipating and receiving tastes of chocolate milkshake. Parents completed a Children’s Eating Behaviour Questionnaire. Results reveal greater response to milkshake taste receipt in overweight children in the right insula, operculum, precentral gyrus, and angular gyrus, and bilateral precuneus and posterior cingulate. No group differences were found for brain response to a visual food cue. Exploratory analyses revealed interactions between self-report measures of eating behavior and weight status on brain response to taste. This pilot study provides preliminary evidence of feasibility of studying young children’s taste processing and suggests a possible developmental shift in brain response to taste.

Author: Cara Bohon



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