The role of impulsivity in pediatric obesity and weight status: A meta-analytic review Academic Article uri icon


  • Pediatric obesity has reached epidemic proportions over the last two decades; however little research has focused on the behavioral mechanisms that may contribute to the rise of obesity in youth and adolescents. Impulsivity has been examined as a mechanism underlying the displacement of physical activity and the increase in food consumption, however this research is limited. The present meta-analysis aimed to address mixed findings of previous research by determining a relative effect of impulsivity on pediatric obesity. A total of 23 articles met the inclusion criteria for the present meta-analysis for a total sample size of 3898 participants (k=27) aged 2-21years (M=10.99). Using the statistical software, Comprehensive Meta-Analysis, version 2.0-Hedges' g was computed to estimate effect size. Results revealed a moderate effect size, such that impulsivity was greater among overweight/obese children, relative to healthy weight children (g=0.406). Significant moderating effects were found for the type of measure used (g=0.426) and the dimension of impulsivity examined (g=0.402). The current study emphasizes the need for further research on the role of impulsivity in pediatric obesity as additional findings may aid in the enhancement of future prevention and intervention weight management programs.

altmetric score

  • 16.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Thamotharan, S., Lange, K., Zale, E. L., Huffhines, L., & Fields, S.

citation count

  • 86

publication date

  • March 2013