Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Obesity is socially contagious

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A new study shows that obesity is socially contagious, and having obese parents, siblings or friends dramatically increases your chance of becoming obese yourself. The same is true in reverse as well -- thin people are more likely to have thin friends and family, and obese people who lose weight increase their friends' odds of losing weight as well.

So why is this? With parents and siblings, where you have the same genetic make-up and were raised with the same eating and exercise habits, I can see the connections. But what about friends? Perhaps people subconsciously seek out people who are the same size as them, who either make them feel ok about being overweight or who practice the same healthy habits that are conducive to being thin.

My friends are of all shapes and sizes and I would say they don't influence my size, but maybe that's why I'm neither skin thin nor overweight. What about you?

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