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Beliefs About Genes and Weight Can Ruin Your Health

Update Date: Sep 08, 2015 09:16 PM EDT

Believing that individuals are born thick or thin can ruin your health, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people who believe that weight is out of their control have less healthy body mass indexes than those who feel more control.

People who felt out of control also made significantly poorer food choices and reported significantly lower levels of personal wellbeing compared to those who felt more in control.

"If an individual believes weight to be outside of the influence of diet and exercise, she or he may engage in more behaviors that are rewarding in the short term, such as eating unhealthful foods and avoiding exercise, rather than healthful behaviors with more long-term benefits for weight management," study authors Dr. Mike C. Parent and Dr. Jessica L. Alquist, wrote in a news release. "By fighting the perception that weight is unchangeable, health care providers may be able to increase healthful behaviors among their patients."

The latest study involved data from medical and self-reported health measurements of 4,166 men and 4,655 women.

"Although previous research has found gender differences in weight as a motivation for exercise and healthful eating, we did not find evidence that gender affected the relationship between health beliefs and physical activity or healthful eating," wrote the study authors.

"However, we found evidence that the relationship between belief in weight changeability and exercise, healthful eating, and unhealthful eating differs by age," they concluded.

The findings were published in the journal Health Education and Behavior.

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