Influence of Executive Function Training on BMI, Food Choice, and Cognition in Children with Obesity: Results from the TOuCH Study
Background: Children with obesity have a higher risk of future health and psychological problems. Executive functions (EFs) play a key role in successful dietetic and exercise planning; therefore, new treatments aimed at improving EFs may optimize outcomes. Objectives: This study evaluates the impact of EF training on body mass index (BMI), food choice, and cognition in children with obesity. We also examine their real-life executive functioning, emotional state, and quality of life. Methods: Randomized controlled double-blind trial. Forty-six children with obesity were randomly allocated into an executive functions training or a control task training group and attended 30-45 min of daily training (5/week over 6 weeks), with both groups receiving counseling on diet and wearing an activity/sleep tracker. Participants were evaluated at baseline and after treatment. Results: BMI decreased over time in the whole sample, although there were no differences between groups at post-training in BMI, food choice, and cognition. Both groups showed significant improvements in attention, speed, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control. Additionally, there were some benefits in real-life executive functioning and self-esteem. Over the 6 weeks, participants showed worse food choices in both groups. Conclusions: EFs training showed a lack of significant effects. The executive function enhancement alone did not explain these changes, as there were no significant differences between the experimental groups. It might be that the control task training could also produce some benefits, and multi-component interventions might be useful for weight loss.
Pediatric obesity; Quality of life; Cognition
Luis-Ruiz S, Sánchez-Castañeda C, Garolera M, Miserachs-González S, Ramon-Krauel M, Lerin C, et al. Influence of Executive Function Training on BMI, Food Choice, and Cognition in Children with Obesity: Results from the TOuCH Study. Brain Sci. 2023 Feb 17;13(2):346.
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