The Urge to Splurge
Personality Traits that Predict Obesity
Because midnight trips to McDonalds are never premeditated... Turns out your personality can determine more than just your social circle; it can play a role in determining your body weight as well. A study conducted over the course of 50 years showed that individuals who are more impulsive, risk taking and antagonistic were more likely to gain weight over time.
Out of 1,988 study participants, those who scored in the top 10 percent of impulsivity were on average 22 pounds heavier than those in the bottom 10 percent.
The study, drawn from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, surveyed generally healthy and educated individuals of both sexes. They were all assessed for the "Big Five" personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The subjects were then weighed and measured over time.
Those who scored high in neuroticism and low on conscientiousness were more likely to go through cyclical weight gain and loss patterns throughout their lives. Individuals who were scored as having high conscientiousness were usually leaner. Soooo, that kinda explains a lot about the Buddhists' and crazy hippies' rockin bods... but, makes Woody Allen a bit of a mystery.
While this study was one of the first to examine the effect of personality on weight change, the authors found no effect of weight change on personality over time.
The good news is that now you know that your impulses may be controlling your weight. The bad news is that your impulse to control that impulse to eat a whole pizza may usually be the weaker one.
Source: American Psychological Association (2011, July 18). Personality plays role in body weight: Impulsivity strongest predictor of obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718111425.htm