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Episodic future thinking reduces delay discounting and energy intake in children.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Eating Behaviors
1471-0153
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
18
Pages
20–24
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.03.006
PMID: 25863227
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Discounting of larger future rewards in favor of smaller immediate rewards is known as delay discounting. High delay discounting or a bias towards immediate gratification impedes self-regulation and is associated with maladaptive eating behaviors. Children in general show greater delay discounting than adults. Obese children in particular, have greater difficulty delaying gratification for edible rewards. Episodic future thinking (EFT) which is mental self-projection to pre-experience future events reduces delay discounting and reduces energy intake in overweight/obese adults. However, these EFT effects have not been examined in children. We evaluated the effects of EFT versus control episodic recent thinking (ERT) on delay discounting and ad libitum energy intake while thinking about episodic cues in 42 overweight/obese 9 to 14year olds. Results showed that EFT led to less delay discounting and lowered energy intake, and EFT had the greatest effect on reducing energy intake in children with a higher desire to restrict food intake. This suggests that EFT may be useful in pediatric obesity treatment programs to help children regulate energy intake.

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