Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Kinesiology and Sport Sciences (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Arlette Perry

Second Committee Member

Eduard Tiozzo

Third Committee Member

Kevin Jacobs

Fourth Committee Member

Moataz Eltoukhy

Fifth Committee Member

Brian Arwari


Addictive snacking can contribute to excessive caloric intake having an adverse effect on body weight and the obesity pandemic. Studies have reported that moderate intensity exercise decreases chocolate consumption. However, the effect of high intensity interval exercise (HIIE) on addictive snacking is unknown. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a brief HIIE bout on cravings, affect (affective valence and affective activation), and attentional bias to chocolate. Twelve regular chocolate eaters (10 premenopausal females; 2 males; mean age: 30.5 ± 7.37 years, mean BMI: 28.67 ± 4.5 kg/m2) abstained from chocolate consumption for 24 h prior to evaluation. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions involving either a 26 min bout of HIIE or quiet rest followed by two stress-inducing tasks; a computerized Stroop task and a chocolate-handling task. Chocolate cravings and affect were measured immediately after treatment. Attentional bias to chocolate images was assessed using an adapted dot probe task post-treatment at each session. Paired sample t-tests revealed a significant reduction in cravings and an increase in affective activation (physiological arousal) following HIIE compared to quiet rest conditions. There were no significant changes in affective valence or attentional bias. This was the first study to use HIIE as an exercise intervention for curbing addictive chocolate behaviors in an overweight/obese population. Our findings have important clinical implications for reducing addictive behaviors in vulnerable populations.


Exercise; Food craving; Physical activity; Self-regulation; Chocolate; Addiction