About the Project

The objective of this research project is to develop a novel intervention strategy to improve nutrition behavior and reduce risk for obesity among adolescents using basic behavioral science research on:

  1. The formation and enactment of habitual behaviors.
  2. The use of implementation intentions to guide alternative behaviors in the presence of cues.
  3. The influence of neurocognitive processes on behavior.

The intervention itself will be developed through the implementation of five interconnected studies. The first study will identify cues to habitual dietary behavior among adolescents. The second study will create an intervention activity designed to modify inhibitory function. The third study will test cue-based and implementation intention approaches for dietary change. The fourth study will test alternative approaches to the modification of inhibitory function and dietary intake among adolescents. The fifth study will fuse together elements of all the prior studies into a complete intervention with children 14-17 years of age and their families.

Study participants will be identified, screened, and recruited from the patient population of Molina Healthcare clinics in the greater Los Angeles area. Molina Healthcare is a national health maintenance organization that provides health care to 41,000 low-income patients in Southern California.

The data collection methods used across the five studies include self-administered questionnaires, focus group interviews, body measurements, medical record analysis, Ecological Momentary Assessment data, computerized cognitive assessments, observational assessments, and functional MRI.


Kim Reynold
Kim Reynolds, PhD
Principal Investigator
Email address: kim.reynolds@cgu.edu

Susan Ames
Susan L. Ames, PhD
Email address: susan.ames@cgu.edu

Andy Johnson
C. Anderson Johnson, PhD
Email Address: andy.johnson@cgu.edu

James Pike
James Pike
Center Manager
Email address: edit@cutandspliced.com

Alan Stacy
Alan Stacy, PhD
Email address: alan.stacy@cgu.edu

Dennis Trinidad
Dennis Trinidad, PhD
Email address: dennis.trinidad@cgu.edu

Bin Xie
Bin Xie, PhD
Email address: bin.xie@cgu.edu

Investigators at Partner Institutions

Antoine Bechara, PhD
Email address: bechara@usc.edu

David MacKinnon, PhD
Email address: davidpm@asu.edu

Saul Shiffman, PhD
Email address: shiffman@pinneyassociates.com

Jennifer B. Unger, PhD
Email address:unger@usc.edu

Lin Xiao, PhD
Email address: linxiao@usc.edu

Ongoing Activities

This research project is currently in the process of recruiting and assessing subjects. For more information, please contact James Pike at edit@cutandspliced.com.


Data collection and analysis is currently ongoing. For more information, please contact James Pike at edit@cutandspliced.com.


Funding for Habitual & Neurocognitive Processes in Adolescent Obesity Prevention was provided by Award Number 1U01HL097839-01 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute. The content displayed is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Cancer Institute, or the National Institutes of Health.