Reduced neural response to food cues following exercise is accompanied by decreased energy intake in obese adolescents

S. N. Fearnbach, L. Silvert, K. L. Keller, P. M. Genin, B. Morio, B. Pereira, M. Duclos, Y. Boirie, D. Thivel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background:Acute exercise has been found to favor a transient anorexigenic effect in obese adolescents. Although the role of some gastro-peptides has been suggested as an explanation for this observed reduced energy intake after exercise, it is unknown whether neural pathways involved in the regulation of food intake are modulated in youth.Methods:Body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and aerobic capacities were assessed in 19 obese adolescent boys. Participants were randomized to remain at rest in a sitting position (CON condition) or to exercise 45 min at 65% of their maximal capacities (EX condition) by the end of the morning. An attentional computer task with electroencephalography recording was completed immediately after the exercise or sitting period to measure an event-related component (P3b) reflecting the level of cognitive engagement in the processing of food cues. A lunch test-meal was offered ad libitum and appetite feelings assessed at regular intervals using visual analog scales.Results:The 45-min cycling exercise set at 65% VO 2 max induced a mean energy expenditure of 399±75 kcal. Both absolute (P<0.05) and relative (P<0.001) subsequent energy intake were significantly reduced after EX (1037±260 and 639±256 kcal, respectively) compared with CON (1116±243 and 1011±239 kcal, respectively). The energy ingested derived from each macronutrient and self-reported appetite remained unchanged. Although the amplitudes of the P3b component evoked by food and non-food visual stimuli were not significantly different during CON, the response to food cues was significantly reduced compared with non-food stimuli after exercise (P<0.01).Discussion:An acute exercise favors decreased neural response to food cues compared with non-food ones in obese adolescents that may contribute to their subsequently reduced energy intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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