Tuesday, 11 Nov, 2008 Science

Overweight Women are More Impulsive, Study Shows


According to the latest research carried out by scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, overweight women show increased levels of impulsivity compared to normal-weight women. The study also revealed that obese and normal-weight men have the same level of impulsivity.

The goal of researchers at University of Alabama was to find the difference between men and women with a normal and increased body weight index in terms of decision making, and particularly in delay discounting, which is a measure of the level of drive, expressed by a person when being gratified, versus the eagerness to wait for greater rewards, which, however, would come later.

The study involved 95 men and women, who were free to choose between hypothetical amounts of money to be received straight away or hypothetical fixed amounts of money to be received after a delay that could last 2 weeks, 1 month, 6 months, 1, 3 or 10 years. The hypothetical amounts of money ranged from $1,000 to $50,000, reported United Press International.

The research and its results were published in the journal Appetite. Scientists found that overweight women were 3-to-4 times less likely to wait for future rewards than women with normal body weight index. After analyzing the results of the study, scientists came to the conclusion that obese women show greater impulsivity.

Overweight men along with male and female control subjects reported the same levels of delay discounting. The results remained the same even after scientists controlled the dissimilarities in intelligence quotient and income, both playing an important role in calculating the level of impulsivity.

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