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Retraining Attentional Bias to Unhealthy Food Cues

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Environmental cues encourage overeating by biasing attention for salient stimuli, which increases food craving and food intake. Addiction research has identified attentional bias AB to salient cues as a precipitant of craving and userelapse. In light of evidence that similar mechanisms underlie drug addiction and obesity, strategies such as attention retraining AR that are used to reduce drug intake may apply to the study of obesity. Although there are countless food cues in the environment, reducing attention to certain types of food cues e.g., modifying attention to cues for unhealthy food may be possible using a cognitive computer task. Given the success of AR in other clinical conditions, the purpose of this study was to evaluate AR as a means of modifying attention to salient food cues.

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