Personality and Dietary Habits




    • KIKUCHI Yuriko
    • Department of Nutritional Science, Faculty of Applied Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture
    • WATANABE Shaw
    • Department of Nutritional Science, Faculty of Applied Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture


Background: The personality of healthy individuals has not been well studied in relation to health consciousness, dietary habits and actual food intake, simultaneously. Objective: Our objective was to study the association between personality and dietary habits. Design: Information on dietary habits, including taste preferences and the frequency of food consumption, was collected through a questionnaire from 76 male and 394 female students. The personality of students was determined by a modified NEO-FFI test. Health status, height, body weight, body fat percentage and blood pressure were measured by physical examination. Main outcome measures were personality scores as indicators of a healthy dietary pattern. Results: Food intake was influenced by neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness (0) and agreeableness (A) of personality. Taste preferences and receptivity to dietary advice were also influenced by personality: the odds ratios (ORs) between the high and low tertiary points of the NEO-FFI scores for salty and sweet taste preferences were significantly higher in the group that scored high for neuroticism (N) (salty taste preference: OR=2.25, NS in males and OR=2.39, 95%CI=1.16-4.93 in females; sweet taste preference: OR=21.00, 95%CI=2.40-183.99 in males and OR=3.33, 95%CI=1.61-6.91 in females). On the other hand, the groups with high scorer for 0 and A did not like salty tastes. The groups with high scores for A and C were receptive to dietary advice. High scores of each N, E, 0, A, and C factor were characterized by distinguishable, dietary habits and lifestyle. For nutritional or health education, group classes are sufficient for high A and O. High C scorer displayed discrepancies between health consciousness and dietary habits, so intervention or a close follow-up by medical professionals would be necessary to improve the health of individuals in this group. High E scorer possessed a confident attitude towards their health, but they were not interested in developing healthy habits. High N scorer was adverse to receiving health information and learning healthy dietary habits. Conclusion: Personality determined by NEO-FFI test was related to dietary habits and health attitude. Effective health education methods must take the personality of the targeted individuals into consideration. J Epidemiol, 2000 ; 10 : 191-198


  • Journal of epidemiology

    Journal of epidemiology 10(3), 191-198, 2000-05


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