Exploring the Link Between Obesity and Gambling

What image comes to mind when you think of the typical gambler? The healthy fitness fanatic or the overfed smoker who is constantly taking risks? There have been many studies investigating the relationship between gambling and body mass index (BMI). It turns out that gambling activity and obesity are closely linked. In this article, we will look at the evidence that suggests that a person's weight and gambling activity are linked.

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The link between BMI and gambling activity?

It is easy to assume that gamblers are prone to being overweight because gambling requires minimal physical activity. However, various studies have delved further into the link between gambling and obesity to provide a better understanding of the relationship between the two. Some studies even look at the link between obesity and gambling addiction.

Gamblers are prone to obesity

In 2012, a group of experts from Iowa published a study on pathological gambling addiction. The study was titled "Pathological Gambling Addiction: Relationship to Obesity, Self-reported Chronic Illnesses, Poor Lifestyle and Quality of Life Impairment." The project was designed to assess the physical and medical health associated with gambling addiction. The health and quality of life of 186 candidates were examined, 95 of whom were gambling addicts and the remaining 91 had no gambling problems. The result showed that the players reported more health problems and were more likely to avoid physical activity. They also smoked a packet of cigarettes a day, drank more caffeine, and watched more than 20 hours of TV a week. However, the most important finding was that the ill players had a higher BMI and tended to be overweight.

Impulsivity links gambling problems and obesity

A study entitled 'Obesity and gambling: neurocognitive and clinical associations' was published by JE Grant, K Derbyshire, E Leppnk, and SR Chamberlain in 2014. Her study found an association between gambling and obesity. The team tested 207 players aged 18 to 29 and assessed their gambling behavior. The result showed that overweight players showed significant impairments in terms of their adaptation to the risk and the quality of their decision-making process. Attention deficits were also found in overweight players. They also had greater monetary losses from gambling compared to 'normal weight' BMI players. The team then concluded that impulsivity is an area that should be addressed when treating someone with gambling and obesity problems.

Gambling problems are associated with unhealthy behavior

A 2015 study by Algren M.H., Ekholm O., Davidsen M., Larsen K.W., and Jewel K. investigated how health and weight problems differed between addicted gamblers and problem-free gamblers. Health behavior and body mass index among problem players: results of a nationwide survey showed that gambling behavior was associated with obesity and unhealthy behaviors. The team analyzed the results of a survey of Danish players and found that those who had exhibited abnormal playing behavior in recent years were more likely to be smokers. High-risk alcohol use and illicit drug use were more common among problem players. At the heart of their study, the team stressed that healthy lifestyle initiatives need to be implemented, especially among problem players.

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Overweight is associated with riskier decisions

A modified decision-making decision on obesity risk was published in June 2016.

Although the study does not focus on gambling, it offers interesting insights that may link obesity to gambling. The team classified 79 people according to their BMI score and tested their decision-making process in risky or ambiguous situations. Using the Wheel of Fortune (WoFT) task, the decision-making process in a risky situation was examined. People who were overweight made more risky decisions. However, when using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), no differences in decision-making processes in an ambiguous situation were found. Meanwhile, it was explained that the choice of risky foods was related to BMI. It is now also clear that this also has parallels with riskier gambling behavior at top Danish online casinos https://3dpdanmark.dk/clemensspillehal-bonuskode/.

Impaired decision-making processes in addiction

Decision-making disorder: overall vulnerability in obesity, gambling addiction, and substance use disorders was published in September 2016 by Mallorquí-Bagué N, Fagundo AB, Jimenez-Murcia S, de la Torre R, Baños RM, and Botella C, et al.

The study examines the extent to which different dependencies can influence decision-making. It also examines the decision-making process in cases of substance abuse, gambling addiction, and obesity, and compares them to healthy subjects. Thus, the study concluded that decision-making was impaired for all three addictions when compared to healthy subjects. These results help in understanding the underlying causes of obesity and addictive behavior. In addition, these results open up opportunities to improve clinical treatments for these problems in the future.

Obesity affects recovery from gambling addiction

While previous studies have concluded an association between gambling, obesity, and decision-making impairment, a more recent study examined the impact of BMI on gambling addiction recovery. In December 2016, Eric Leppink, Daniel Friedberg, Sarah Redden, and John Grant published data on the intersection of obesity and the longitudinal course of gambling addiction. The study involved 160 gamblers aged 18 to 29 who did not want to undergo treatment. They studied them for one year. They found that players with an obesity problem had a lower level of symptom improvement over the year than participants with a healthy weight. Because of the possible links pointed out by J.E. Grant in 2014, the team realized that they now needed to investigate the impact of impulsivity on the treatment of overweight players.

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Obesity is also linked to gambling

In September 2017, Desmond Lam and Yi Man Mok from the University of Macau published the results of their study. Examining the relationship between body mass index, obesity, and gambling levels for different types of gambling more deeply explores the relationship between obesity and gambling, exploring the relationship between the two beyond various recreational gambling activities. Using information gathered from 1,473 gamblers by the Pew Research Center, the team analyzed the relationship between BMI and gambling frequency for 16 types of gambling. The results of their study showed that overweight people had significantly higher gambling activity in 2 specific areas; playing bingo for real money and buying lottery tickets. They even suggested that only among female gamblers, BMI was associated with the frequency of casino gambling, college basketball, and video poker.

The final conclusion

There is clearly a link between gambling activity and obesity. Not only have studies confirmed that gamblers are more likely to be overweight, but they have also examined the reasons for the link between the two addictions. Data from several studies have shed light on impulsivity as a key element in this connection. On the other hand, others have shown that impaired decision-making is a key element. What is clear, however, is that more research is needed to further explore this relationship. Thus, a better understanding of the clinical and neurocognitive links between gambling and obesity may help improve future treatment programs for these conditions.