Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Kinesiology




Suzzane Phelan


Adult obesity is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Increasing success in weight loss maintenance will decrease the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and therefore help control the adverse health effects of excess weight. Much is known about the behavioral characteristics of successful long-term weight loss maintenance, but less is known about the cognitive processes behind weight loss maintenance. The purposes of this study were to (1) identify differences in visual attention to high-energy dense foods between individuals who are normal weight, weight loss maintainers, and overweight/obese in a high-risk (food-buffet) situation; (2) to evaluate differences in food choices from a food buffet between weight status groups; (3) to analyze correlations between food attention and food choice across weight status groups. No significant differences were found between groups with respect to food attention or food choice. Overall, findings from this study may have been limited by methodology, technology, and sample size. Future research is needed to better understand the interaction of cognitive processes and weight loss maintenance.