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The Link Between Personality and Weight

The Link Between Personality and Weight
23 Apr 12

The Link Between Personality and Weight

Does your personality determine whether or not you are going to be thin or determine the chances of you gaining weight as you get older? According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the answer is ‘yes’.

Researchers from the US Department of Health and Human Services studied 2,000 participants from birth to age 50. Results of this study found that those who were more impulsive were likely to weigh 24 pounds more than individuals who scored lower on their impulse scale.

This study yielded a number of other results. According to researchers, there is a link between being conscientious and being thin. Individuals who scored high on the study’s conscientiousness scale were much more likely to be lean than those who received a low score on the scale.

Are you a more agreeable individual or do you tend to fight to get what you want? If you are agreeable you are likely to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) across your adult lifespan than those who are not so agreeable.

Researchers found that those with ‘Type A’ personalities are more likely to be overweight. Type A personalities are more high-strung, as opposed to the more easy-going ‘Type B’ personality. There is also a link between Type A personalities and an increased risk for developing heart disease.

If we took this study at face value, we could conclude that ‘the meaner you are, the more likely you are to gain weight as you age’. But of course it is not quite as simple as that! The grain of truth in this may be that people who are less impulsive and who have conscientious personalities are also conscientious towards maintaining a healthy weight, and likely pay close attention to their diets. Type A personalities may be linked to higher stress levels, which in turn promote the production of the hormone cortisol. This hormone has been linked to the accumulation of fat around the waistline.

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