Links between personality and obesity

A recent Wall Street Journal article details a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that looks at the links between personality and obesity. The study specifically addresses the links between emotion, food, and weight control, links which form at a young age. An example of some of the links:

those who scored high on neuroticism—the tendency to easily experience negative emotions—and low on conscientiousness, or being organized and disciplined, were the most likely to be overweight and obese. Impulsivity was strongly linked to BMI, too: The subjects in the top 10% of impulsivity weighed, on average, 24 pounds more than those in the lowest 10%.

Emotional eating is a major problem in weight gain, especially in women, and becomes worse when one is overweight. The brain-gut connections in overweight people encourages unhealthy food-consumption even when one is not hungry, heightening impulsivity. This is a vicious cycle that can be hard to get out of. Weening yourself slowly off certain foods is a good place to start. I had to go “cold turkey” and stopped eating junk food and opted for healthy substitutes. It is important to exert some will power!

I will be posting on some of the other personality traits mentioned in upcoming posts. Remember:

“You don’t have to change your whole personality. You just need to change your thinking, which allows you to change your behavior,”

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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