Study: Your Personality Could Predict Your Weight

by | July 25, 2011 at 12:47 PM | General

What if in return for being a nice person you were rewarded with a desirable figure? Well, that could be the case according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study titled “Personality and Obesity Across the Adult Life Span,” which researchers believe to be the first examination of the link between personality and weight change over time, looks at 50 years worth of data and draws some interesting conclusions.

Researchers found that people who are more conscientious tend to remain thin as time goes by, while the opposite seems to be true for those participants who were less than agreeable.

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The greatest predictor of which people would become overweight over time?

Impulsivity.

Apparently, impulse shoppers (gasp!) have a greater chance of a lifetime of rollercoaster weight loss and weight gain and study participants who scored in the top 10 percent on impulsivity weighed an average of 22 lbs. more than those in the bottom 10 percent, according to Dr. Angelina R. Sutin and her team.

The researchers believe the type of person who makes purchases on a whim may not possess the self-restraint needed to keep their weight in check throughout their life.

“Individuals with this constellation of traits tend to give in to temptation and lack the discipline to stay on track amid difficulties or frustration,” the press release reads. “To maintain a healthy weight, it is typically necessary to have a healthy diet and a sustained program of physical activity, both of which require commitment and restraint. Such control may be difficult for highly impulsive individuals.”

Taking into account that weight naturally increases as people age, the study found “greater weight gain among impulsive people; those who enjoy taking risks; and those who are antagonistic—especially those who are cynical, competitive and aggressive.”

It looks like American biologist Garrett Hardin was wrong. It turns out nice guys DON’T finish last—at least when it comes to aging and weight control.