Are Your Friends Making You Fat?
If you’re putting on weight and aren’t sure why, take a look at the size of your social circle, suggests a new study in PLoS-ONE. When Loyola University researchers analyzed data from two large high schools, they found that students who were borderline overweight were 56 percent more likely to experience an increase in body mass index (BMI)—a measure of body fat based on height and weight—during the school year if their friends were obese. Similarly, borderline overweight students were 40 percent more likely to decrease their BMI if they befriended lean peers. It’s possible that like-minded people gravitate towards each other, however social influence did appear to affect how much time a person spent playing sports, watching TV, or using the computer, study author David Shoham, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine said in a press release. Don’t want to ditch your friends? Be the impetus for change and chances are many of them will follow.
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