Positive mindset influences health decisions

(Medical Xpress)—An analysis of the personality types, diet and exercise habits of more than 7,000 people has shown that a positive attitude, and the belief that you can determine your life's outcomes, leads people to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Victoria University economist Dr Stefanie Schurer and colleagues from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research last year used data from the Australian Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to learn more about why people choose to lead healthy lives.

Dr Schurer says that economists traditionally believe behaviour can be changed by giving people more information, education or to enable a rational decision to be made, but the group's research showed that to increase the uptake of healthy behaviours in a population you would need to address people's beliefs and perceptions first.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"The results of our analysis showed that individuals who identified that they believe their actions have an impact on the outcomes of their lives made healthier choices. They exercised more regularly, ate breakfast regularly, had a better diet generally, and were less likely to smoke."

The results also indicated that men and women had notably different reasons for making these choices.

"The majority of men who believed they could change outcomes in their lives and invested in their health did so because they believed they would enjoy better health in the future. Whereas women who also had a and invested in their health generally did so because they simply enjoy these activities," says Dr Schurer.

The discussion paper was published by the University of Melbourne in the Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series in August 2012.

Dr Schurer says the difficulty for managing issues such as obesity is compounded by the results of another of her studies, which indicated belief systems are fairly stable in adulthood, even if individuals experience dramatic life events such as a serious health shock.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How Australia survived the global financial crisis unscathed

Jul 10, 2012

A detailed picture of how Australia coped during the global financial crisis has been provided by the latest report from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, produced by the Melbourne Institute ...

Lifestyles of the old and healthy defy expectations

Aug 03, 2011

People who live to 95 or older are no more virtuous than the rest of us in terms of their diet, exercise routine or smoking and drinking habits, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments