The incidence of health problems resulting from obesity is growing and obesity and its related diseases has become one of the main causes in death in industrialized societies. Environmental influences are crucial for the interactions between genetic, neurohormonal and metabolic factors that may be important in understanding individual differences in the development of obesity and metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. In particular the interactions between the personality of an individual and the environment play a key role in predicting the chance for successful treatment. Our experimental data clearly point out that the success of interventions designed to prevent or treat metabolic diseases could be considerably improved by adjusting the intervention to the personality of the individual. Furthermore, certain physiological and neuroendocrine characteristics of a personality are strong indicators for pathology development, both in experimental animals and humans. Future research should focus on the identification of easily measurable physiological and neuroendocrine markers indicative of the coping style or personality in humans. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.