Impulsive personality traits predict weight loss in individuals with type 2 diabetes after 3 years of lifestyle interventions

Giulia Testa

What was the goal of your research or experiment?

We investigated the influence of impulsive personality traits on the effectivity of a 3-year weight-loss program with a Mediterranean diet. We conducted this intervention trial with elderly individuals with type 2 diabetes. We hypothesized that people who are more impulsive will have more trouble to control their weight and blood glucose levels over the duration of the diet intervention.

How did you measure or test this?

This study is part of the PREDIMED-Plus trial that investigates the long-term effects of an energy-restricted Mediterranean diet. In our study, 487 elderly individuals (55 – 75 years old) with type 2 diabetes participated by adhering to this diet for three years. Impulsive personality traits were measured with the Impulsive Behaviour Scale, which is a questionnaire that assesses different dimensions of impulsivity. Weight control was measured by measuring weight and body mass index, and glucose (glycated haemoglobin) was measured in the blood. All these measurements were taken at the start of the trial, and three years later.

What were the main results or findings?

Two impulsive traits were associated with less weight loss after three years. More specifically, those individuals who scored hight on the trait “sensation seeking” or the trait “lack of persistence” (i.e. the tendency not to finish tasks), had lost the least weight after three years.

However, we found no associations between impulsivity traits and blood glucose levels.

What does this mean?

Our results suggest that certain forms of impulsivity may affect the amount of weight lost during a long-term energy-restricted dietary intervention program for individuals with type 2 diabetes. However, impulsivity does not seem to influence the successful management of blood glucose levels. These findings could have implications for the development of diabetes management and prevention interventions, such as the implementation of psychological support to help individuals with impulsive personality traits that could lead to difficulties in weight management.

What is the next step?

Clinical weight-loss programs for elderly individuals with type 2 diabetes could use this information to provide tailored assistance for individuals who are very impulsive, as they might have more difficulty with losing weight during the program. This would ensure greater efficacy and adherence to treatment, and possibly improve their quality of life.

More information

Publication information


Impulsive personality traits predicted weight loss in individuals with type 2 diabetes after 3 years of lifestyle interventions


Giulia Testa, Lucía Camacho-Barcia, Carlos Gómez-Martínez, Bernat Mora-Maltas,  Rafael de la Torre, Xavier Pintó, Dolores Corella, Roser Granero , Aida Cuenca-Royo,  Susana Jimenez-Murcia, Nancy Babio, Rebeca Fernández-Carrión, Virginia Esteve-Luque, Laura Forcano, Jiaqi Ni, Mireia Malcampo, Sara De las Heras-Delgado, Montse Fitó,  Jordi Salas-Salvadó and Fernando Fernández Aranda


Journal of Clinical Medicine