Interactions entre le stress, la cognition, le craving pour la nourriture et les comportements alimentaires

Authors: Massicotte, Elsa
Advisor: Jackson, Philip L.
Abstract: Obesity is a worldwide epidemic health condition whose prevalence has doubled over the last forty years. It is a multifactorial disease and thus many factors are involved. Among them, an enhanced motivational drive towards food, namely food craving, and a reduced behavioral control over food intake through poor executive functions have been observed. These characteristics, taken together, lead to a lack of self-regulation toward food and could, therefore, contribute to the obesity phenotype. Moreover, the imbalance between food craving and executive functions is promoted by stress, which is also associated with obesity. Even though food craving and executive functioning are now better understood in the context of obesity, their interaction as well as their impact on eating behaviors, particularly in relation to acute stress, remain unclear. Thus, the objective of this thesis was to clarify these interrelations, firstly without the contribution of stress, and secondly with this contribution. To do so, a first experimental study has been conducted with participants whose BMI were ranging between a healthy weight and class 3 obesity. The results from this study showed a negative association between state food craving and executive functions. Specifically, a low cognitive flexibility was associated with a high food craving following induction. Moreover, the latter was also predictive of a higher junk food intake but showed no relationship with healthy food intake. In the second experimental study, where participants with BMI ranging from a healthy weight to class 2 obesity were enrolled, an acute social stressor was induced. Results from this study showed that food craving positively predicted food intake. Finally, stress predicted food craving increase following induction in a complex interaction with executive functions and BMI. Specifically, stress enhanced food craving when executive functions werelow and BMI was high. Taken together, these results shed some light on the importance of food craving, executive functions, stress and the interaction of these variables in the clinical understanding of obesity. Furthermore, it allows a more global comprehension of this health condition, which could lead to new interventions. Indeed, the thesis discusses the relevance of integrating new components into classic behavioural treatment for obesity such as interventions targeting food craving, executive functions or stress in a clinical population of obese people. In sum, this thesis offers new research perspectives in order to improve and diversify available therapeutic options for obesity.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 12 July 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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