Sarah Dahmann, Melbourne Institute - Self-Control and Unhealthy Body Weight: The Role of Impulsivity and Restraint

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Title: Self-Control and Unhealthy Body Weight: The Role of Impulsivity and Restraint

Abstract: We examine the relationship between trait self-control and body weight. Based on large-scale Australian household panel survey data, we find that limited self-control is strongly associated with both objective and subjective measures of unhealthy body weight. Proposing an empirical method to differentiate between two core factors shaping people's self-control, we find that people's ability to restrain themselves is more important for a healthy weight than is not being impulsive, and that the two do not have the compounding effect one might expect. Rich information on potential mechanisms suggests that those with limited self-control are characterized by reduced exercising, repeated attempts at dieting, and unhealthier eating habits and food choices compared to people without self-control issues.

Presenter: Sarah C. Dahmann, Melbourne Institute

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