Start March 2023; Jikke Hesen
This project will —in a large sample of individuals varying in bodyweight— assess a comprehensive set of personal, biological, psychological, environmental, and behavioral variables that have been identified as important causal and maintenance factors for overweight and obesity.
Based on this set of variables, we will develop comprehensive individual profiles. Although we expect considerable individual variation on these variables, it may be unlikely that truly each and every individual is characterized by a totally different comprehensive profile. Therefore, we will proceed to identify whether individual comprehensive profiles can be clustered in a meaningful way according to similarity, and will examine how these clusters relate to bodyweight indicators.
As behavioral change happens in daily life and is necessary for weight change, a fine-grained understanding of (triggers of) healthy and unhealthy behavior in the daily life of an individual is additionally needed for understanding and treating overweight and obesity. This micro-level research has increased in popularity over the last decade, and relies mainly on Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). In EMA, participants answer the same set of questions (e.g., food craving, food intake, emotions) multiple times throughout the day, and data can be analyzed as time-series for each individual. Based on these time-series data daily lifestyle networks can be estimated. These daily lifestyle networks are related to the clusters of comprehensive individual profiles, to discover if the clusters of comprehensive individual profiles translate to distinct daily lifestyle networks at baseline. We will also test the prediction that a network with healthier characteristics (e.g., more healthy behavior and stronger predictors leading to these behaviors) is associated with a lower body weight.