In a study published in a Society for Public Health Education journal published by SAGE called Health Education & Behavior, researchers discovered that people who believe that weight is out of their control tend to make poorer food choices, have unhealthy body mass indexes (BMIs), and report lower personal well-being levels when compared to those who believe that weight is not genetic.
For the study, researchers from Texas Tech University examined medical and self-reported data from 4,655 women and 4,166 men who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2010.
The researchers found some interesting results. As people get older, the belief that weight is predetermined by genetics is linked with less exercise and less healthy eating habits. For instance, when people age, they become less likely to consume vegetables and fruits available at home, and they also fail to read food nutrition labels on packaging.
The belief that weight doesn’t change is also linked with eating greater amounts of restaurant meals, convenience foods like fast foods or deli meats, and frozen meals such as pizza.
“If an individual believes weight to be outside of the influence of diet and exercise, she or he may engage in more behaviors that are rewarding in the short term, such as eating unhealthful foods and avoiding exercise, rather than healthful behaviors with more long-term benefits for weight management,” explained study authors Dr. Jessica L. Alquist and Dr. Mike C. Parent.
“By fighting the perception that weight is unchangeable, health care providers may be able to increase healthful behaviors among their patients,” added the authors.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Parent, M.C. and Alquist, J.L., “Born Fat: The Relations Between Weight Changeability Beliefs and Health Behaviors and Physical Health,” Health Education & Behavior September 8, 2015, doi: 10.1177/1090198115602266.
“Thinking people are born fat or born thin is bad for your health,” ScienceDaily web site, September 8, 2015; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150908082812.htm.