New York: If you are impulsive in making decisions, chances are that you may become obese, say researchers who found a link between having an impulsive personality and a high body mass index (BMI). The 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 BMI.
“Our research points to impulsive personality as a risk factor for weight gain,” said lead researcher Francesca Filbey, Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. Overweight and obesity are known to increase blood pressure – the leading cause of strokes.
Excess weight also increases your chances of developing other problems linked to strokes, including high cholesterol, high blood sugar and heart disease. Thus, “treatments that provide coping skills or cognitive strategies for individuals to overcome impulsive behaviours associated with having an impulsive personality could be an essential component for effective weight-loss programmes”, Filbey said.
For the self-report, researchers used an impulsive sensation-seeking scale to gauge innate personality characteristics. The neuro-psychological measure sought to assess whether an individual’s decision-making style was more impulsive or cautious.
An fMRI was used to examine brain activation and connectivity during an impulse control task. The results showed that “individuals with a high BMI exhibited altered neural function compared to normal weight individuals”, Filbey noted. The study was published in the journal Obesity.