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Personality Plays Role in Weight Gain

Friday, 19 Aug 2011 07:59 AM

If you tend to be impulsive and neurotic are you more likely to struggle to maintain a healthy weight?

Apparently you are, according to research recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Using data from a Batimore, Md.-based longitudinal study, researchers at the National Institute on Aging looked at how personality traits might affect the weight and body mass index of 1,988 people including equal numbers of men and women.

Scientists accessed what’s known as the “big five” personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Another 30 subcategories of the traits also were considered, and participants were measured and weighed periodically.

Being impulsive was the chief predicting trait for being overweight; participants who scored in the top 10 percent of impulsivity weighed an average of 22 pounds more than those scoring as the least impulsive. What’s more, the traits of “high neuroticism” and “low conscientiousness” were associated with repeated weight gains and losses.

“Individuals with this constellation of traits tend to give in to temptation and lack the discipline to stay on track amid difficulties or frustration,” lead researcher Dr. Angelina R. Sutin wrote.

Being antagonistic and a risk taker also were associated with more weight gain, the study found, as were being aggressive, cynical, and competitive. However, those participants considered conscientious were more likely to be thinner.


© HealthDay

 
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