Executive function and probabilities of engaging in long-term sedentary and high calorie/low nutrition eating behaviors in early adolescence

Christopher Cappelli*, James Russell Pike, Nathaniel R. Riggs, Christopher M. Warren, Mary Ann Pentz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Consumption of high calorie/low nutrition (HCLN) foods, as well as high levels of sedentary behavior (SB), may play a substantial role in the development of childhood overweight and obesity. However, the choice to engage or not engage in this behavior may be impacted by limits in executive functioning (EF) - a set of higher order functions related to decision making, planning, and inhibitory processes. Methods: The present study, as part of a large multiple health risk behavior trial designed to prevent substance use and obesity, evaluated the relationship between specific subdomains of EF and long-term patterns of HCLN food consumption and SB among a population of elementary school students (n = 709). Results: Utilizing a form of mixture modeling based on a latent transition analysis framework, subdomains of EF were found to influence the probability that students would report high levels of HCLN food consumption and SB over a thirty-month period. Gender and socioeconomic status further influenced the likelihood that students with poor EF would repeatedly engage in these unhealthy behaviors. Conclusions: HCLN food consumption and SB in childhood can lead to an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese. Findings suggest that long term EF training, as well as the creation of environments that support appropriate decision-making, could be an important focus of future health promotion and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112483
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume237
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Calorie/low nutrition
  • Executive function
  • High
  • Latent transition analysis
  • Obesity risk
  • Sedentary behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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