Who is at Risk for Obesity? - How Personality Piles on the Pounds

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Just who is at risk for obesity?

A recent study reveals how personality piles on the pounds.

Obesity Risk Factors

Over 25% of adults in England above the age of 16 are officially classed as obese, and in almost every county in the developed world, this frightening epidemic alarmingly grows each year.

While many experts lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of poor diet and fatty foods, what if your personality plays a significant role too?

Are you impulsive, extroverted, introverted or neurotic? If so, you may now be able to predict your future weight and obesity risk.

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Obesity Study

According to a study examining 50 years of data, researchers from America's National Institute on Aging looked at detailed statistics from 1,988 people to determine how personality traits are associated with obesity risk factors and body mass index.

Their findings, published by the American Psychological Association, concluded how character was a STRONG PREDICTOR of those who would remain lean and those who would become overweight.

So the important question is, how does your personality affect you?

Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo

Why One Biscuit is Never Enough

"One biscuit is never enough, and you have to keep going until they are ALL gone." Does this sound like you? If you are impulsive and find yourself unable to enjoy that one slice of cake or single biscuit, then you will more likely find yourself in this high obesity-risk personality group.

Other high-risk personalities in the study included the daring risk takers in life, along with those who were antagonistic to others - indeed, those always looking for a fight or an argument, tended to put on more weight as they got older.

Yet the personality group that exhibited the worst results in terms of weight gain were the cynical. Their gloomy outlook on life extended to a very real risk of falling into the fattest category.

Obesity Dangers

Armed with this information, how does our personality influence our diet decisions? Dr Angelina Sutin who led the research, said: "The control that keeps us on an even keel in terms of mood might have something to do with overeating, and not taking a measured view of food...this seems to make people eat more and make bad judgment calls on what they eat."

If our mood and temperament can negatively impact our food choices, which personality groups fared BEST in the war against weight gain?

The researchers found those people who displayed the most conscientiousness in their daily lives tended to be the most lean and did not put on weight. Moreover, those who were diligent and cautious were more likely to escape the classic yo-yo dieting dangers when compared to their more "neurotic" counterparts.

This suggests a conscientious character naturally leads to balanced eating, thereby proving you really are what you eat.

In Summary

Who is at risk for obesity?

Research suggests personality can make you pile on the pounds, putting your health and fitness at risk.

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