News

Sizing up your mood when it comes to food

24 October 2013

Does personality play a role in your weight? That is one of the questions a QUT health researcher is looking to answer.

Stephanie Fay, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), is looking for participants to take part in a study to identify the factors that influence a person's eating behaviours.

"Why is it that some people find it easy to lose weight while others only find it easy to gain?" she said.

"I want to know if mood, psychological functioning and appetite differ in individuals who have different body compositions and whether the factors that influence a person's eating behaviour are the same in people of similar sizes?"

Ms Fay said weight loss was influenced by eating behaviour and behaviours were influenced by a person's thoughts, feelings and personality.

She said the study sought to better understand the decision-making process when it came to food choices of people who were over weight, or had been able to lose weight and keep it off.

"We live in an obesegenic world where our eating choices are influenced by easy access to unhealthy foods," she said.

"Many people use food as a reward - but what I want to know is whether some people experience greater reward or pleasure from food than others, and if so is this making it harder to resist temptations because it brings them greater pleasure?

"I am hoping to shed light on the traits and behaviours that might be transferable to people struggling with weight and even behaviours that might prevent weight gain in the first place."

Ms Fay said her study would focus on three types of body compositions: People with a BMI under 24, people with a BMI above 27 and people who have a BMI under 24 but previously had a BMI higher than 27.

To take part in the study you have to be aged between 18 and 55, have had no prior surgery of the digestive system or current medication known to affect appetite and not be vegetarian, vegan, pregnant or breastfeeding.

As part of the study, participants will be asked to attend QUT's Kelvin Grove campus where their body composition will be assessed in a BodPod. This five minute test occurs in an egg-shaped chamber that measures body composition using air displacement plethysmography.

Participants will also undergo neuropsychological testing.

To take part in the study email Stephanie.fay@qut.edu.au

Media contacts:
Sandra Hutchinson, QUT Media Officer (Tue/Wed) 3138 9449 or media@qut.edu.au
Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901

For high-resolution photos of Stephanie Fay and the BodPod click:
Stephanie Fay
BodPod

Researcher Stephanie Fay tests a participant in the BodPod.

Health researcher Stephanie Fay.