A POSITIVE mental attitude has long been said to improve life perspective.
And now experts say that being happier could help you lose weight.
New research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggests that people with a positive attitude are more likely to eat healthily.
They looked at the motivational role of a theory known as regulatory focus and at how much time and effort people put into finding out about nutrition.
Regulatory focus suggests there are two motivational differences among people which guide behaviour – promotion and prevention.
Individuals with a promotion focus are concerned with pursuing positive outcomes, for example engaging in healthy behaviours.
The higher aspirational levels of promotion focused consumers will lead to greater involvement with nutrition to enhance their well-being
Meanwhile, those with a prevention focus will seek to prevent negative consequences, for example by avoiding unhealthy behaviours.
The findings, published in the journal Appetite, showed that the more positive people were interested in changing their diet after getting advice, for example from media, doctors, family members of friends.
It also found that the effect of positive behaviour on nutrition was greater among those with a higher income.
The evidence suggested that the positive effect was stronger among men than women and those with higher incomes.
Lead author Kishore Pillai, professor of retail and marketing at UEA, said the findings were important given the growing rates of obesity and conditions such as diabetes.
Prof Pillai said: “The higher aspirational levels of promotion focused consumers will lead to greater involvement with nutrition to enhance their well-being.
“Consumers are likely to receive advice regarding nutrition from multiple sources in their day-to-day lives.
"Public agencies can encourage promotional focus and in turn involvement in nutrition through appropriate communication.
"But, as the results of this study indicate, the effectiveness of this intervention will vary between high and low income groups and is likely to vary between males and females.”
The study involved 1,125 consumers in Taiwan, where dietary habits have been changing and there have been increases in obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Participants were questioned about their nutrition involvement and knowledge, and diet adjustment.
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