miercuri, 2 februarie 2011

Can Your Friends Make You Fat?

Researchers writing in the New England Journal of Medicine say they may have found a possible explanation for the obesity epidemic: Fat is contagious.
Studying more than 12,000 people linked to a long-running study of heart disease based in Framingham, the researchers found that an individual's chances of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if someone they consider a friend grew obese.

If the friendship was close and mutual and one person became obese, the other's risk soared by 171 percent. The study found similar, but smaller influences between siblings and spouses, but neighbors who aren't friends had no effect.

Surprisingly, obesity seemed to spread even if friends were geographically distant.

Supposedly because the study looked at relationships over time, the researchers were able to exclude cases in which obese people chose overweight friends, and therefore were able to make a stronger case for the effect.

As if there weren't enough social stigma already for women who are overweight now there's medical research justify the societal shunning.