obese-friends.jpg Apparently, fat spouses, family members and close friends might cause one to put on weight and vice versa. This was found by a recent study on the effects of social networking on lifestyle conducted by UCSD and Harvard researchers. This is the first study on the spread of obesity through social networking. This study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging, was published in New England Journal of Medicine.

Study Highlights
a. If a close friend or relative is overweight, one is likely to gain weight within a couple of years.
b. It could be because the unhealthy habits leading to obesity could be subconsciously seen as socially acceptable.
c. On the other hand, if one is surrounded by thin people, it can help a person remain thin.
d. The weight loss or gain of a friend has a bigger influence on a person than family.
e. Same sex friends were also seen to have a greater influence.
f. This study surveyed more than 12,000 people in Framingham, Mass., from 1971 to 2003.
i. This is a part of a long-term project that studies the relationship between lifestyles and health.

Conclusion
a. It was concluded that a person's chance of becoming obese increases by 57 per cent if he or she has a friend who became obese.
b. It increases by 40 per cent if a sibling is obese.
c. It increases by 37 per cent if a spouse is obese.
d. If one out of two long time friends became obese, the other's chances of gaining weight increases by 171 per cent.
e. This is true even for friends who do not meet regularly.