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Appetite. 1991 Oct;17(2):91-5.

Behavioral economic analysis of food choice in obese children.

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  • 1Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.


Behavioral economic analysis has shown food choice in normal weight adults is influenced by both liking and constraints on access to food. The present study assessed the contributions of food liking and environmental constraints to choice of moderately liked, low-calorie foods or highly liked high-calorie foods in obese children. Access to the moderately liked food remained on a VR2 schedule, while response requirements for the highly liked food ranged from VR2 to VR32. Subjects chose to work for the higher-rated food at comparisons up to VR2/VR4, showed no preference at VR2/VR8 and their choice shifted to the lower rated food when response requirements for the highly liked food were increased to VR16. These results show that both subjective and environmental factors contribute to children's choice of foods.

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