Is your body weight a sign of your personality? The politically incorrect answer that comes from a new study is yes. Public health experts have been blaming societal structure - not willpower - for our nation’s growing waistline that has left two-thirds of Americans overweight: Junk food is too cheap; walking paths too inaccessible; driving too easy. But researchers from the National Institute on Aging have now found that personality plays a hefty role, too, in terms of weight changes over the decades.
They performed regular body-mass index measurements and personality questionnaires on nearly 1,800 participants who volunteered to take part in the ongoing Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging and found that two traits - impulsivity and conscientiousness - played the strongest role in determining mid-life weight gain.
Those who scored the highest for impulsive, disorganized behaviors gained 22 pounds more, on average, over two decades compared to those who scored the lowest for these behaviors, according to a July study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
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