A new study has found that in a sense, obesity is contagious – if you have obese friends, this ups your own chance of being obese. It has been hypothesized that weight gain may be socially contagious, and this new research confirms this hypothesis.
It is well known that obesity increases a person’s chances of getting cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes and that about one third of Americans are obese, which is being 30 or more pounds overweight.
Experts have been trying to estimate if the ballooning obesity rates in the US may in fact be leveling off, and now Harvard researchers are saying that this rate of obesity in the US could rise up to 42% before finally starting to fall.
According to the lead author of the study, Alison Hill, if one has four or more obese friends, then one’s chances of being obese actually doubles when compared with others who do not have obese friends.
As to the reason for this phenomenon, researchers suggest that if you have friends with unhealthy eating habits, then you are perhaps likelier to pick up those unhealthy eating habits yourself.
So the lesson that we get from this study is that we should, in our own interests, be helping our friends to lose weight.