Project TEACH: The Eating, Affect, and Cognitive Health Study

2019-10-16 10:39:39 | BioPortfolio


Specific aims are to:

1. Assess variability in performance on state-level measures of working memory (WM) delivered via Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). The investigators expect WM performance to vary over the course of a day across participants, and to be poorer and more variable among youth with overweight/obesity and loss of control (LOC) eating relative to overweight/obese and non-overweight controls.

2. Investigate the relationship between state WM and eating behavior. The investigators expect that poorer momentary WM will predict an increased likelihood of LOC eating as assessed via EMA, and greater energy intake and poorer dietary quality as assessed via dietary recall, across participants. The investigators expect these effects to be strongest among youth with concomitant overweight/obesity and LOC eating.


Pediatric overweight and obesity continue to represent major threats to public health. One cause is loss of control (LOC) eating, which involves a sense that one cannot control what or how much one is eating, affects up to 30% of youth with overweight/obesity, and may undermine weight control attempts via increased psychiatric distress, including onset of full-syndrome eating disorders. One methodology to explore factors underlying LOC eating is ecological momentary assessment (EMA), which enable examination of "in the moment" processes related to eating behavior. A neurocognitive factor implicated in LOC eating is executive functioning (EF; i.e., the ability to adaptively engage in ongoing, goal-oriented behavior). It is critical to understand the role of EF in the development of LOC eating because EF informs one's ability to understand and respond to emotions, and to engage in healthy weight regulation behaviors. In particular, working memory (WM), conceptualized as the ability to retain goal-relevant information when faced with distracting or irrelevant information, may impact regulation of eating behavior including vulnerability to LOC eating. Although WM is typically conceptualized as a trait-level factor, it is known to vary at the state-level as well, which may increase susceptibility for engaging in goal-incompatible behaviors. The proposed study uses EMA to characterize state-level WM and eating behavior in youth with overweight/obesity and LOC eating to understand how WM variations between- and within-subjects influence acute maladaptive eating. Participants will be 50 children, ages 10-17, 20 of whom are overweight/obese and report LOC eating (i.e., at least 3 objectively or subjectively large LOC episodes in the past 3 months), 20 of whom who will serve as overweight/obese controls with no LOC eating, and 10 of whom are normal-weight controls with no LOC eating.

Study Design


Pediatric Obesity




Weight Control & Diabetes Research Center
Rhode Island
United States




The Miriam Hospital

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-10-16T10:39:39-0400

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