This work critically reviews Lawrence’s work, whose title is “Training response inhibition to food is associated with weight loss and reduced energy intake.” Most people are overweight or obese because they take in excessively high energy. Training individuals to offset basic motor responses minimizes their intake of the same food materials. Their work examines whether online training could yield the same outcome in a real-world situation. According to their work, they chose a random sample of 83 individuals. Each participant received four sessions of either active or control training, and each session lasted ten minutes. In each session, active participants used high-energy density snacks, while those in control (non-food stimuli) had no-go signals. The main parameters from the experiment included; the weight of individuals, energy intakes, frequency of daily snacking, and subjective food evaluations. They recorded these parameters were recorded before and after the experiment. In both cases, observations were done for a week.
They found that individuals in the active category displayed considerable loss in weight, minimized energy intakes, and had a drop in their liking for high-energy-density food materials comparing their pre and post-intervention steps. The daily self-reported snacking frequency did not change. After six months, the active participants displayed a considerable reduction in self-reported weight. Both categories reported that they had minimized snacking after one and six months. The authors also reiterate that the 97% adherence rate and the positive feedback concerning this training indicate that the participants accepted this intervention and could improve people’s health by minimizing energy intake and reducing body weight.
This article has several strengths. First, the sample size (n = 83) used was large enough to allow the researchers to precisely estimate the treatment effect, which would translate to the ideal situation on the ground. As such, it easily allows them to assess the representativeness of this sample, thus generalizing their findings. Secondly, a large sample size ensures that they get a smaller margin of error. The size enables them to control the risks of false negative or false positive results. Ideally, the sample fosters better precision.
Another strength is in the random sampling during sample selection. Random sampling is simple and overcomes chances for bias. Random sampling leads to outcomes that would be obtained if the research happened on the entire population. Besides, a random sample saves the researcher’s time because if they were to contact every person in the community, they would spend more time. The process may also have cost them lesser than if they had contacted everybody.
Lastly, the study exposed its participants to scrutiny before the intervention and after the intervention. This approach allows the researcher to compare the participants’ behaviour prior to and after the intervention, thus gauging the effectiveness of the intervention. Besides, the study exposes participants to four sessions, each having ten minutes. They perform this over six months. This duration is considerable to determine valid results. If the time was lower and non-rigorous, findings might be flawed towards the wrong impression.
The article has weaknesses despite its many strengths. First, they focused their study on participants of unknown gender. They failed to categorize them into women and male gender. Perhaps the age groups would also be important in this study. The fact that we don’t know the gender and the age brackets from which they sampled the participants denies us the chance to conclude based on gender and age. The other weakness is the study’s absence of hypothesis and prediction. Besides, I think the problem in this study is only particular to obese and heavy-weight individuals. Therefore, findings in this study may not apply to other categories of people who fall outside the two groups. Consequently, it presents a challenge to conclude the findings as applicable to all people in society.
The last weakness in this research relates to experimental research. Experimental research creates an artificial environment. Participants tend to ‘pretend’ by behaving in specific ways that are entirely different from how the same participants would behave in ordinary settings. Participants are aware that the researcher is monitoring them. Thus, they twist their behavior to fit what the researcher expects. The outcome in such a setting is wrong findings or findings that do not reflect the ideal situation in the entire population. Good research should be such that participants do not know that they are under investigation. Such research yields ideal results because it captures the participants’ ideal behavior since they do not know someone is watching them.
Subsequent Clinical Research
This study informs subsequent clinical research in two ways. First, future researchers could experiment with the behaviour of separate gender. There is a need to know the disparity and possible underlying reasons for such discrepancies. Secondly, body weight/obesity correlates with most cardiovascular diseases. Many people lose lives because of heart diseases they never knew were part of them. Suppose the study provides a suggestion for the reduction of energy intake hence body weight. In that case, further clinical research could examine the extent to which people with cardiovascular conditions may get assistance through such an approach.
The experimental research in this discussion has more strengths than weaknesses. Some of its strengths include the use of large sample size and the exposure of participants to the intervention for a good period of time. Apart from that, random sampling was convenient, cheap and overcame bias problems. However, one of its major weaknesses almost explodes the results because when participants in an experimental study behave in a manner that impresses the researcher, the findings are always skewed in one direction. Consequently, they need to provide a true picture of the population. Further clinical research is needed to determine the behaviour of different gender and age groups under the same experimental study. Moreover, the findings could offer insight into approaches to dealing with the rising number of patients with cardiovascular conditions.
Lawrence, N.S., O’Sullivan, J., Parslow, D., Javaid, M., Adams, R.C., Chambers, C.D., Kos, K., Verbruggen, F. (2015). Training response inhibition to food is associated with weight loss and reduced energy intake. Appetite, 95, 17-28. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.06.009