Inhibitory control in otherwise healthy overweight 10-year-old children

Int J Obes (Lond). 2015 Aug;39(8):1230-5. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.49. Epub 2015 Apr 14.


Background: Preventing obesity is a worldwide public health priority. In vulnerable children living in obesogenic environments, with easy access to high-caloric food, alterations in inhibitory control functions might favor excessive food intake and affect energy regulation. We hypothesized that overweight/obese children would present lower inhibitory control in comparison to normal weight children.

Methods: We measured inhibitory control functions in 93 otherwise healthy overweight/obese and 92 normal weight 10-year-old children using the Stroop test and the Go/No-Go task. Event-related potentials were recorded during the Go/No-Go task.

Results: Overweight/obese children showed slower reaction times (1248.6 ms (95% confidence interval (CI): 1182.9-1314.3) vs 1149.0 ms (95% CI: 1083.0-1215.1)) on the Stroop test, higher reaction time variability (0.25 (95% CI: 0.22-0.27) vs 0.21 (95% CI: 0.19-0.24)) on the Go/No-Go task and decreased P300 amplitude (4.1 μV (95% CI: 3.0-5.2) vs 6.4 μV (95% CI: 5.2-7.6)) on event-related potentials compared with normal weight children.

Conclusions: Our results indicate altered inhibitory control functions in otherwise healthy overweight/obese children, which might contribute to their excessive food consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Reaction Time