A new study by Australian researchers discovered that those who believe they have control of their destiny have a healthier lifestyle than those who believe in “luck” or “faith.”
In the study, researchers from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research analyzed data on the diet, exercise and personality type of more than 7,000 people.
They discovered that those who believe their life can be changed by their own actions ate healthier food, exercised more, smoked less and avoided binge drinking.
Deborah Cobb-Clark, Ph.D., director of the Institute, said those who have a greater faith in luck or fate were more likely to live an unhealthy life.
“Our research shows a direct link between the type of personality a person has and a healthy lifestyle,“ she said.
Cobb-Clark hoped the study would help inform public health policies on conditions such as obesity.
“The main policy response to the obesity epidemic has been the provision of better information, but information alone is insufficient to change people’s eating habits,” she said. “Understanding the psychological underpinning of a person’s eating patterns and exercise habits is central to understanding obesity.”
The study also found men and women hold different views on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Men wanted physical results from their healthy choices, while women were more receptive to the everyday enjoyment of leading a healthy lifestyle.
Cobb-Clarke said the research demonstrated the need for more targeted policy responses.
“What works well for women may not work well for men,” she said. “Gender-specific policy initiatives which respond to these objectives may be particularly helpful in promoting healthy lifestyles.”
Source: University of Melbourne