2007 Volume 4 Issue 2 Pages 43-50
BACKGROUND: Obesity is one of the most common risks for lifestyle-related diseases, but the personality of individuals in relation to obesity has not been well studied. We investigated the association of personality traits with physical activity levels and eating behaviors in obese subjects. METHOD: The subjects were 116 males and 119 females in the Saku Control Obesity Program SCOP study. The influence of personality on obesity was analyzed using a questionnaire from the NEO-FFI. We analyzed the association of physical activity level (measured with an accelerometer) and eating behavior (assessed by a questionnaire) among the three classes (low, average, high) of scores within five personality domains. RESULTS: Scores in the Neuroticism and Agreeableness domains of females were significantly higher than those of males. There were significant differences among the three classes of Neuroticism and Agreeableness with regard to physical activity levels. Eating behavior was associated with the Neuroticism and Openness domains. The scales of bad eating behavior related to obesity were positively correlated with scores in the Neuroticism domain in both males and females. In males the scale of all categories of eating behavior increased as scores in the Openness domain rose; in females the scale of “perception of constitution and weight” decreased as Openness scores rose. CONCLUSION: Personality determined by NEO-FFI was related to physical activity level and eating behavior. In particular, the Neuroticism domain had great effects on these parameters.