New study links instant gratification with obesity

Two new studies out of Hamilton have found a link between obesity and the inability to delay gratification.

The study by Dr. Michael Amlung at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, looked at 30 studies from over 2 decades, which included over 10,000 people.
“Individuals who are obese or overweight are more likely to choose immediate rewards, in a case of obesity that could be eating high calorie fatty foods in the immediate time frame at the expense of the longterm benefits of weight loss or management.”

A second study by Dr. James Mackillop at McMaster University, found similar results in people with attention defecit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
“They’re quite different conditions, one being characterized by attentional issues and the other by over-consumption of food, but that underlying mechanism impulsivity is elevated in both these groups.”

It wasn’t just obesity and ADHD, there is an entire family of psychiatric and behavioral conditions that share the common theme, that includes alcohol use disorder, drug addiction and others. But that doesn’t mean if you’re overweight or have ADHD that you can’t change.
“With targeted intervention and hard work, those things can change and it may just be a matter of shifting someone’s framework how they think about different alternatives.”

Going forward, doctors can now use the results of the studies as a screening tool for future weight loss programs to have better results.


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