Impulsive Personality Tied to High BMI

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New research suggests having an impulsive personality is often associated with weight gain.

Investigators at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas said their findings demonstrate that having an impulsive personality — the tendency to consistently react with little forethought — is the key factor that links brain patterns of impulsivity and a high body mass index, or BMI.

BMI is a measure of body fat for adults, based on height and weight.

“Our research points to impulsive personality as a risk factor for weight gain,” said Dr. Francesca Filbey, principal investigator and associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and the Center for BrainHealth.

“Thus, addressing impulsive personality traits is essential to developing effective weight management programs that can help the 70 percent of Americans who are overweight or obese.”

For the study, researchers recruited 45 individuals, ages 22 to 43 with an average BMI of 30.7, and analyzed three separate metrics to understand the role of impulsivity in body weight. The measures included a self-report, neuropsychological testing, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

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