Obesity rates are associated with public health consequences and rising health care costs. Weight loss interventions, while effective, do not work for everyone, and weight regain is a significant problem. Eating behavior is influenced by a convergence of processes in the brain, including homeostatic factors and motivational processing that are important contributors to overeating. Initial neuroimaging studies have identified brain regions that respond differently to visual food cues in obese and healthy weight individuals that are positively correlated with reports of hunger in obese participants. While these findings provide mechanisms of overeating, many important questions remain. It is not known whether brain activation patterns change after weight loss, or if they change differentially based on amount of weight lost. Also, little is understood regarding biological processes that contribute to long-term weight maintenance. This study will use neuroimaging in participants while viewing food and non-food images. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging will take place before and after completion of a twelve-week weight loss intervention. Obese participants will be followed though a 6-month maintenance period. The study will address three aims: 1. Characterize brain activation underlying food motivation and impulsive behaviors in obese individuals. 2. Identify brain activation changes and predictors of weight loss. 3. Identify brain activation predictors of weight loss maintenance. Findings from this study will have implications for understanding mechanisms of obesity, weight loss, and weight maintenance. Results will be significant to public health and could lead to a better understanding of how differences in brain activation relate to obesity.
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Weight loss