Do You Have a “Heavy” Personality?

Impulsive individuals are more likely to become obese

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Eating too much, physical inactivity and genetics are all factors that lead to weight gain or obesity. Now, another factor may add pounds – personality. What kind do you have?

A new study – the first of its kind – has found a link between personalities and body weight. People who are more impulsive have a greater chance of being obese.

"Weight management takes commitment and restraint."

Angelina R. Sutin, Ph.D., from the National Institute on Aging, found that individuals who are highly neurotic (anxious and compulsive) and less conscientious about healthy living are more likely to fluctuate between gaining and losing weight.

Researchers also noticed that individuals who are highly impulsive were on average 22 pounds heavier than less impulsive individuals. Sutin and team said that these individuals are more likely to give into temptation which makes it harder to reach or maintain ideal weight.

People who are risk takers or antagonistic – cynical, competitive and aggressive – also gained more weight on average than others. These individuals are more likely to binge on food and alcohol, which in the long-term can lead to considerable weight gain, says Sutin.

For this study, researchers gathered and analyzed information from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, which is an ongoing study of normal aging of almost 2,000 people. Participants are highly educated with an average of 16 years or more of education.

The research is published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 20, 2011
Last Updated:
July 24, 2011