The role of personality traits in young adult fruit and vegetable consumption
In this 2017 study, the relationship between personality (using the 5 traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and agreeableness) and plant-food consumption was investigated among 1073 young adults aged 17-25. An internet daily diary (21/13 days) allowed the researchers to assess the participants’ daily intake of fruits, vegetables, and two unhealthy foods (for comparison purposes), as well as their Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) aspects of personality, and their demographic information such as gender, age, ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI). Among the young adults increased openness and extraversion, and to some extent conscientiousness, were related with greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, while neuroticism and agreeableness could not be linked. These associations did not apply to unhealthy foods. Also young adult women were identified as greater fruit and vegetable consumers than young adult men in this experiment. These results suggest that personality traits associated with more intellect, curiosity, and social engagement (openness and extraversion), and to a lesser extent, discipline (conscientiousness) are correlated with higher levels of plant-food consumption among young adults, confirming the importance of personality in the practice of healthy dietary habits that could improve consequential health outcomes later in life.