Original Article | Published:

Pediatrics

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

International Journal of Obesity volume 39, pages 12301235 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

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.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    , , . Childhood obesity: looking into the future. Angiology 2008; 59: 30S–33S.

  2. 2.

    , . Obesity in children & adolescents. Indian J Med Res 2010; 132: 598–607.

  3. 3.

    . Metabolic and hedonic drives in the neural control of appetite: who is the boss? Curr Opin Neurobiol 2011; 21: 888–896.

  4. 4.

    , , , , . Why obese children cannot resist food: the role of impulsivity. Eat Behav 2006; 7: 315–322.

  5. 5.

    . Behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: constructing a unifying theory of ADHD. Psychol Bull 1997; 121: 65–94.

  6. 6.

    , . Response inhibition and response selection: two sides of the same coin. J Cogn Neurosci 2008; 20: 751–761.

  7. 7.

    , , . Strengthening of top-down frontal cognitive control networks underlying the development of inhibitory control: a functional magnetic resonance imaging effective connectivity study. J Neurosci 2010; 30: 15535–15545.

  8. 8.

    , , , , , et al. Inverse association between BMI and prefrontal metabolic activity in healthy adults. Obesity 2009; 17: 60–65.

  9. 9.

    , , . Toddler self-regulation skills predict risk for pediatric obesity. Int J Obes (Lond) 2010; 34: 633–641.

  10. 10.

    , , , . Is there any relationship between obesity and mental flexibility in children? Appetite 2007; 49: 675–678.

  11. 11.

    , , , , , et al. Association between impulsivity, reward responsiveness and body mass index in children. Int J Obes (Lond) 2011; 35: 1301–1307.

  12. 12.

    , . Genes and experience in the development of executive attention and effortful control. New Dir Child Adolesc Dev 2005; 109: 101–108.

  13. 13.

    . Developmental changes in cognitive control through adolescence. Adv Child Dev Behav 2009; 37: 233–278.

  14. 14.

    , , . Vive les differences! Individual variation in neural mechanisms of executive control. Curr Opin Neurobiol 2010; 20: 242–250.

  15. 15.

    , . The brain, appetite, and obesity. Annu Rev Psychol 2008; 59: 55–92.

  16. 16.

    , , , , , et al. Low dopamine striatal D2 receptors are associated with prefrontal metabolism in obese subjects: possible contributing factors. Neuroimage 2008; 42: 1537–1543.

  17. 17.

    , , , . Association between inhibitory control capacity and body weight in overweight and obese children and adolescents: dependence on age and inhibitory control component. Child Neuropsychol 2010; 16: 592–603.

  18. 18.

    , , , , , et al. A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011; 108: 2693–2698.

  19. 19.

    , , , , , et al. P300 auditory event-related potentials in children with obesity: is childhood obesity related to impairment in cognitive functions? Pediatr Diabetes 2011; 12: 589–595.

  20. 20.

    , , , , , . Behavioral and developmental effects of preventing iron-deficiency anemia in healthy full-term infants. Pediatrics 2003; 112: 846–854.

  21. 21.

    , , , , . Evidence of altered central nervous system development in infants with iron deficiency anemia at 6 mo: delayed maturation of auditory brainstem responses. Am J Clin Nutr 1998; 68: 683–690.

  22. 22.

    , , , , , . Twenty-four-hour motor activity in human infants with and without iron deficiency anemia. Early Hum Dev 2002; 70: 85–101.

  23. 23.

    , , , , . Iron deficiency anemia in infancy: long-lasting effects on auditory and visual system functioning. Pediatr Res 2003; 53: 217–223.

  24. 24.

    , , , . Iron deficiency anemia in infancy is associated with altered temporal organization of sleep states in childhood. Pediatr Res 2007; 62: 715–719.

  25. 25.

    , , , , . Iron-deficiency anemia is associated with altered characteristics of sleep spindles in NREM sleep in infancy. Neurochem Res 2007; 32: 1665–1672.

  26. 26.

    , , , , , et al. Iron deficiency in infancy is associated with altered neural correlates of recognition memory at 10 years. J Pediatr 2012; 160: 1027–1033.

  27. 27.

    , , , , , et al. Long-term neuroendocrine effects of iron-deficiency anemia in infancy. Pediatr Res 2012; 71: 707–712.

  28. 28.

    , , , , , . Iron deficiency anemia in infancy exerts long-term effects on the tibialis anterior motor activity during sleep in childhood. Sleep Med 2012; 13: 1006–1012.

  29. 29.

    , , , , , . Iron-deficiency anemia in infancy and poorer cognitive inhibitory control at age 10 years. Dev Med Child Neurol 2013; 55: 453–458.

  30. 30.

    , , , , . Motor activity and intra-individual variability according to sleep-wake states in preschool-aged children with iron-deficiency anemia in infancy. Early Hum Dev 2013; 89: 1025–1031.

  31. 31.

    . Half a century of research on the Stroop effect: an integrative review. Psychol Bull 1991; 109: 163–203.

  32. 32.

    . Parametric manipulation of conflict and response competition using rapid mixed-trial event-related fMRI. Neuroimage 2003; 20: 2135–2141.

  33. 33.

    , . Conflict resolution and adaptation in normal aging: the role of verbal intelligence and cognitive reserve. Psychol Aging 2012; 27: 1018–1026.

  34. 34.

    , , , . The X-trials: neural correlates of an inhibitory control task in children and adults. J Cogn Neurosci 2003; 15: 432–443.

  35. 35.

    , , , , , . The utility of neurophysiological markers in the study of alcoholism. Clin Neurophysiol 2005; 116: 993–1018.

  36. 36.

    , . P300 as a clinical assay: rationale, evaluation, and findings. Int J Psychophysiol 2000; 38: 3–19.

  37. 37.

    , , . Stimulus modality and Go/NoGo effects on P3 during parallel visual and auditory continuous performance tasks. Psychophysiology 2001; 38: 578–589.

  38. 38.

    , , , . Staying on the job: the frontal lobes control individual performance variability. Brain 2003; 126: 2363–2380.

  39. 39.

    , , , , , . Functional brain correlates of response time variability in children. Neuropsychologia 2007; 45: 2147–2157.

  40. 40.

    World Health Organization. Growth reference 5–19 years. 2007. ().

  41. 41.

    , , . Out of control? Inhibition processes in eating disorders from a personality and cognitive perspective. Int J Eat Disord 2012; 45: 407–414.

  42. 42.

    , , . Conflict adaptation in prefrontal cortex: now you see it, now you don’t. Cortex 2014; 50: 76–85.

  43. 43.

    . Congruency sequence effects and cognitive control. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 2007; 7: 380–390.

  44. 44.

    . Updating P300: an integrative theory of P3a and P3b. Clin Neurophysiol 2007; 118: 2128–2148.

  45. 45.

    , , . P300 amplitude reduction is associated with early-onset and late-onset pathological substance use in a prospectively studied cohort of 14-year-old adolescents. Psychophysiology 2013; 50: 974–982.

  46. 46.

    , , , , , et al. Alcoholism is a disinhibitory disorder: neurophysiological evidence from a Go/No-Go task. Biol Psychol 2005; 69: 353–373.

  47. 47.

    , , , , , et al. Is the P300 wave an endophenotype for schizophrenia? A meta-analysis and a family study. Neuroimage 2005; 27: 960–968.

  48. 48.

    , , , , . Abnormal asymmetry of N200 and P300 event-related potentials in subclinical depression. J Affect Disord 2006; 92: 171–183.

  49. 49.

    , , , , , et al. An event-related potential study of response inhibition in ADHD with and without prenatal alcohol exposure. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2010; 34: 617–627.

  50. 50.

    , . The effects of performance-based rewards on neurophysiological correlates of stimulus, error, and feedback processing in children with ADHD. Psychophysiology 2013; 50: 1157–1173.

  51. 51.

    , , , , , et al. Genoma-wide association study of theta band event-related oscillations identifies serotonin receptor gene HTR7 incluencing risk of alcohol dependence. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2011; 156B: 44–58.

  52. 52.

    , , , , , et al. D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) gene, P300, and personality in children of alcoholics. Psychiatry Res 2009; 166: 91–101.

  53. 53.

    , , , , , et al. An event-related potential study of attention and recognition memory in infants with iron-deficiency anemia. Pediatrics 2007; 120: e336–e345.

  54. 54.

    , , , . Disinhibited eating in obese adolescents is associated with orbitofrontal volume reductions and executive dysfunction. Obesity 2011; 19: 1382–1387.

  55. 55.

    , , . Elevated BMI is associated with decreased blood flow in the prefrontal cortex using SPECT imaging in healthy adults. Obesity 2011; 19: 1095–1097.

  56. 56.

    , , , , , et al. Selective alterations within executive functions in adolescents with excess weight. Obesity 2010; 18: 1572–1578.

  57. 57.

    , , , . Is N2 associated with successful suppression of behavior responses in impulse control processes? Neuroreport 2009; 20: 537–542.

  58. 58.

    , , , , , . Obesity in men with childhood ADHD: a 33-year controlled, prospective, follow-up study. Pediatrics 2013; 131: e1731–e1738.

  59. 59.

    , , . Reward, dopamine and the control of food intake: implications for obesity. Trends Cogn Sci 2011; 15: 37–46.

  60. 60.

    , , , , , et al. Postnatal growth patterns in a Chilean cohort: the role of SES and family environment. Int J Pediatr 2012; 2012: 1–7.

  61. 61.

    . Conners Rating Scales: Revised Technical Manual. Multi Health Systems: North Tonawand, NY, USA, 1997.

Download references

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by Fondecyt No. 1110513 and NIH HD33487 grants. We would like to express our gratitude to children and parents whose participation made this study possible. We also thank the technicians of the Sleep and Functional Neurobiology Laboratory of INTA, University of Chile, who contributed during the course of this study.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Sleep and Functional Neurobiology Laboratory, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

    • S Reyes
    • , P Peirano
    •  & C Algarin
  2. UR2NF–Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging Research Unit at CRCN–Centre de Recherches en Cognition et Neurosciences and UNI, Neurosciences Institute, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium

    • P Peigneux
  3. Center for Human Growth and Development and Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

    • B Lozoff

Authors

  1. Search for S Reyes in:

  2. Search for P Peirano in:

  3. Search for P Peigneux in:

  4. Search for B Lozoff in:

  5. Search for C Algarin in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to C Algarin.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Revised

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2015.49

Further reading