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Decision-making in obesity without eating disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis of Iowa gambling task performances

21 Apr 2017


There is evidence that obesity is associated with impairments in executive functions, such as deficits in decision-making, planning or problem solving, which might interfere with weight loss in obese individuals. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of decision-making abilities, as measured with the Iowa gambling task (IGT), in obesity without eating disorders.


A systematic search was conducted to identify studies comparing IGT performances between groups of obese patients without eating disorders and groups of healthy control groups. The standardized mean differences were calculated for the total IGT scores and for the course of IGT scores. Meta-regression analyses were performed to explore the influence of clinical variables on standardized mean differences.


Total IGT scores were significantly lower in obese patients compared with normal-weight healthy controls. IGT performances did not differ between groups for the first trials of the task. Significant effect sizes for the last trials of the task were subjected to a high degree of heterogeneity.


Risky decision-making is impaired in obesity. The clinical importance of non-food-related decision-making impairments remains to be assessed especially in terms of consequences in daily life or the achievement of weight loss.

This meta-analysis has been registered in the Prospero database (CRD42016037533).

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Obesity Reviews