Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are Your Friends Making You Fat?

(NIM summary)

That's what the New York Times Magazine is asking on their front cover, and for good reason!

It may not be news to you that eating is a social experience. Culture, tradition and society largely determine what ends up on our plate, and in what amounts. It should not come as a shock to anyone that the people we surround ourselves with influence our eating and physical activity habits, and ultimately our weight and health but its the extent of this influence that might make your jaw drop.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, if a close friend becomes obese, your likelihood of becoming obese soars by 171 per cent. If it's a casual friend or acquaintance, the risk is still a whopping 57 per cent. In addition, having an obese sibling increases your risk by 40 per cent, and an obese spouse ups your risk by 37 per cent!

Think about it, if celebrities can influence which body types our culture finds attractive and has a staggering influence on how we view ourselves, then our close friends and family, and heck even acquaintances are certain to have an impact on us.

Read more about this phenomenon in the Globe and Mail's article called "Are your friends making you fat" or in TIME's article called "How Friends Make You Fat".