Friday, January 4, 2008

Your Friends Can Make You Fat...Ouch!!!

A study claiming that “obesity is contagious” and “fat spreads like a virus.” Attention-grabbing, sure, but could it possibly be true? Actually, yes.

But don’t panic: You’re not going to suddenly “catch” 10 pounds from sitting next to an overweight person at the movies. “We found that strangers and acquaintances had no effect on your behavior or your weight,” says James H. Fowler, associate professor of political science at University of California, San Diego, and co-author of the study. “You have to care about the person before they can influence you.” The study found that if a good friend (even one who lives thousands of miles away) becomes obese, there’s a 57 percent greater chance that you’ll also start to tip the scales. But there is some good news: If you choose your friends wisely, the “contagious” fatness syndrome can work in reverse. “Your friends have just as powerful an effect on losing weight and adopting other healthy eating and exercise behaviors,” Fowler says.



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