Mag eten je aandacht? De rol van aandacht voor voedsel in disfunctioneel eetgedrag

Translated title of the contribution: May food have your attention please? : The role of attention to food in dysfunctional eating behavior

Nienke Jonker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

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Abstract

Why do some individuals have difficulties resisting food temptations in their environment and develop obesity? And how can this be reconciled with other individuals – patients with anorexia nervosa – who restrict their food intake to such a degree that it becomes a threat to their health? Together with colleagues I examined whether attention to food could be related to (dysfunctional) eating behavior. In this article I provide an overview of the developments in this area and I discuss two recent studies. The first study showed that attention of youth with anorexia nervosa is less drawn by food cues (engagement bias) than attention of youth without an eating disorder. The second study showed that attention of women with a healthy weight is only drawn by food cues when they have not eaten for some time, but not when they just ate. No difference was found between youth with anorexia nervosa and youth without an eating disorder, nor between women with a healthy weight who fasted or who just ate, in the difficulty to look away from food (disengagement bias). The findings seem in line with the expectation that attention can play a role in dysfunctional eating behavior. The attention for food in individuals with a healthy weight is heightened when they are deprived, and thus seems to depend on the need. On the other hand, youth with anorexia nervosa, who are characterized by an extreme restriction in food intake, showed lowered attention for food when compared to youth without an eating disorder. Future studies will have to show whether these differences in attention for food play a causal role in eating behavior.
Translated title of the contributionMay food have your attention please? : The role of attention to food in dysfunctional eating behavior
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)165-178
Number of pages14
JournalGedragstherapie
Volume54
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2021

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