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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weight Gain: Can Friends Make Each Other Fat?

Written by Opal Tribble

The two of you spend a lot of time together. You congratulate each other when you’ve achieved your goals and, more important, you support one another when times are rough. You mutually respect each other. You’re friends. Whether you get together in person, phone or email, you always have a great time. With all the fabulous things you’ve shared, have you managed to put on weight together?

In July 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study. The study demonstrated that a person's chance of becoming obese increased by 57% if their friends were obese. This research was conducted over a period of 32 years on 12,607 people.

Weight Gain: The Research Discovered

1. Friends of the same sex had more of an impact on weight gain than friends of the opposite sex, including spouses.
2. When friends emulated each other, the likelihood of them gaining weight increased to 171%.
3. Friends that lived far apart had the similar impact on those that lived in the same town.

Why is this? Researchers have determined that friends have a major impact on what is socially acceptable. People look to those who are similar to them as a point of reference. Although the study didn’t show individual cases of friends that lost weight, the study suggests that losing weight and keeping it off can be more effective if done in a group.

If you and your friend have gained weight, encourage each other to shed those unwanted pounds. Change the way you view foods and start adding more whole foods into your diet. Also, make sure the foods you eat are low on the glycemic index. Foods high on the glycemic index can pack on the unwanted pounds. Don’t forget to exercise and look for ways to alleviate stress. You’ll shed those unwanted pounds and improve your health. Regardless of whether you’re fat or thin, start making healthier choices.


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