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Self-control and unhealthy body weight: The role of impulsivity and restraint

Deborah Cobb-Clark, Sarah C. Dahmann, Daniel A. Kamhöfer and Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch

Economics & Human Biology, 2023, vol. 50, issue C

Abstract: We examine the relationship between trait self-control and body weight. Data from a population representative household survey reveal that limited self-control is strongly associated with both unhealthy body weight and poorer subjective weight-related well-being. Those with limited self-control are characterized by reduced exercising, repeated dieting, unhealthier eating habits, and poorer nutrition. We propose an empirical method to isolate two facets of self-control limitations—high impulsivity and low restraint. Each has differential predictive power. Physical activity, dieting, and overall body weight are more strongly associated with restraint; impulsivity is relatively more predictive of when, where, and what people eat.

Keywords: Brief Self-Control Scale; Obesity; Body Mass Index; Diet; Exercise (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D91 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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Working Paper: Self-Control and Unhealthy Body Weight: The Role of Impulsivity and Restraint (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Self-control and unhealthy body weight: The role of impulsivity and restraint (2021) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2023.101263

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