Taste Reward Processing in Pediatric Obesity


The study aims to provide a better understanding of the neural influence of eating behavior in the development of childhood obesity. Children ages 4-8 will be recruited to examine fMRI brain response to pictures that signal delivery of a chocolate milkshake and to the taste itself. The brain response will be compared to body mass index percentile scores for each child to help us determine whether brain differences present in adolescents and adults with obesity are present in young children.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Observational
  • Study Design
    • Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
  • Study Primary Completion Date: August 2015

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Overweight/Obese
    • Children with BMI percentile of 85 or above.
  • Healthy Weight
    • Children with BMI percentile between 15 and 85.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • fMRI brain response to taste of chocolate milkshake
    • Time Frame: Baseline
  • fMRI brain response to picture cue
    • Time Frame: Baseline

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • ages 4-8 – parent available to complete surveys in English Exclusion Criteria:

  • no presence of metal in body – no claustrophobia – no psychiatric or neurological condition that will affect brain function

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 4 Years

Maximum Age: 8 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Stanford University
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Cara Bohon, PhD, Assistant Professor – Stanford University
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Cara Bohon, PhD, Principal Investigator, Stanford University

Citations Reporting on Results

Bohon C. Brain response to taste in overweight children: A pilot feasibility study. PLoS One. 2017 Feb 24;12(2):e0172604. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172604. eCollection 2017.

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