Food decisions determine energy intake. Since overconsumption is the main driver of obesity, the effects of weight status on food decision-making are of increasing interest. An additional factor of interest is age, given the rise in childhood obesity, weight gain with aging, and the increased chance of type 2 diabetes in the elderly. The effects of weight status and age on food preference, food cue sensitivity, and self-control are discussed, as these are important components of food decision-making. Furthermore, the neural correlates of food anticipation and choice and how these are affected by weight status and age are discussed. Behavioral studies show that in particular, poor self-control may have an adverse effect on food choice in children and adults with overweight and obesity. Neuroimaging studies show that overweight and obese individuals have altered neural responses to food in brain areas related to reward, self-control, and interoception. Longitudinal studies across the lifespan will be invaluable to unravel the causal factors driving (changes in) food choice, overconsumption, and weight gain.
Keywords: Decision-making; Development; Food choice; Neural correlates; Obesity.