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H. Iwasa, I. Kai, Y. Masui, Y. Gondo, C.Kawaai, H. Inagaki

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2012;1(3):225-229

Objective: To examine the relationship between personality and body mass index (BMI) in a sample of elderly Japanese people living in the community. Design: We used a cross-sectional study design. Setting: We conducted the study in a community setting. Participants: We studied 950 individuals (401 men and 549 women) aged 65–77 years. Measurements: The participants self-reported their height and weight and we used these to calculate their BMIs. We divided the participants into three groups: underweight (BMI < 18.5), normal (BMI 18.5–24.9) and overweight (BMI ≥ 25.0). We administered the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) to assess the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion. After stratifying the data by sex, we performed multivariate logistic regressions adjusted for age, presence of chronic diseases, and instrumental activities of daily living for each personality trait to test the correlations between personality and BMI (underweight and overweight). Results: The proportions of underweight, normal and overweight individuals were identical between sexes, being 11.7%, 71.3% and 16.9% in men and 12.6%, 67.8% and 19.7% in women, respectively. Logistic regression showed that neuroticism was associated with being underweight both in men (1-standard-deviation [SD] increment; odds ratio [OR] = 1.59, p < 0.01) and women (OR = 1.37, p < 0.01), and that extraversion was associated with being overweight in men (OR = 1.32, p < 0.05), and negatively associated with being underweight in women (OR = 0.70, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Our results suggest that neurotic older men and women are more likely to be underweight, that extraverted elderly men are more likely to be overweight, and that extraverted elderly women are less likely to be underweight.

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