Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Obesity is a major public health concern impacting one in five young people in the U.S., and research suggests that consumption of high calorie, low nutrient foods may play a role in weight gain. Executive function (EF) has emerged as a factor that may play a role in dietary intake across youth development. Although biopsychosocial models of obesity emphasize the importance of identifying individual and environmental influences that may be associated with poor dietary intake, empirical research in this area is lacking. Therefore, the current set of studies seeks to 1) systematically review the literature on the association between EF and dietary intake across youth, from a developmental perspective, 2) use an ecological systems approach to investigate mechanisms underlying EF and dietary intake during the summertime, and 3) evaluate food marketing as an environmental factor that may influence the relation between EF and dietary intake, especially for vulnerable populations, such as those with disordered eating. Overall, findings suggest that the relation between EF and dietary intake in youth is complex and is likely influenced by individual factors, highlighting the importance of identifying individuals who are more responsive to the food environment to help design more effective obesity intervention and prevention programs.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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