Q: Remember the headline about obesity being contagious? What does that mean exactly?
A: Eating and activities are social. We do what our friends do and eat what our friends eat, so if we focus on doing it well-wellness and weight loss result.
The study, the first to ever look at obesity as "socially contagious,"was coauthoured byNicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of UC San Diego and published in the July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study showed that obesity spreads from person to person in a social network. If one person becomes obese, those close to them have a greater chance of becoming obese as well. Surprisingly, the greatest effect was among friends.
Accordingly, if your friend becomes obese, the researchers found, your own chances of becoming obese go up 57 percent. Among mutual friends, the effect is even stronger, with chances increasing 171 percent.
But of course, this can go the other way. As you lose weight and become more active so will your friends. Fitness and wellness are socially contagious too.