On the Lighter Side: Friendship Can Make You Fat

Published: July 27, 2007 | Last Updated: August 7, 2007 By | Reply Continue Reading

Who hasn’t enjoyed the guilty pleasure of sharing an
outrageously rich and caloric dessert with a best friend and indulging with
abandon? If you have, you better not make a habit of it. A new report published
on July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine seems to suggest that
obesity can spread among friends like a virus…

The research team, funded by the National Institute of
Aging, looked at the connections among the more than 12000 people who were
enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study for over three decades. They found that
if a person had a friend who became obese, their chance of becoming obese
increased 57 percent. Among mutual friends, the risk increased a whopping 171
percent. The effect was even larger among people of the same sex. Food for
thought: If your best female friend is fat, you’re at extreme risk of becoming
her mirror image.

“It’s not that obese or non-obese people simply find other
similar people to hang out with,” said Nicholas Christakis, a physician and a
professor at Harvard Medical School in a press release. “Rather, there is a
direct causal relationship.”

This research doesn’t mean that friendship is bad for your
health. The other side of the coin: The researchers remind us that thinness is
also contagious.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply