Researchers have been examining for a while now, the relationship between obesity and weight loss vis a vis social interaction or group behavior. Social contact has impact on obesity or a person’s attempt at weight loss, recent research found.
On the one hand, having obese family and friends, could encourage obesity in a person, and conversely, one’s social circle could also form the support mechanism that one needs for effective weight loss.
Researchers found that overweight or obese individuals were more likely to be close friends and have romantic relationships with people who are also overweight or obese; and even have more overweight family members and casual acquaintances when compared to individuals of normal weight.
However social interaction can also help people lose weight – if one has social contacts who are also trying to lose weight one is more likely to have greater weight loss intentions. According to researchers the reason for this behavior is the social norms for weight loss, such as encouragement and approval from social contacts.
In particular it is young adults who are most likely to have positive influences on their weight loss patterns by virtue of their social interaction. Researchers found ‘obesity clusters’ to exist in this age group.