The July 25th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contains an article about the influence our friends can have on our body weight. When a person becomes obese, his/her friends and siblings are likely to gain weight as well. The researchers believe that this may be due to the fact that friends may subconsciously share ideas about what constitutes a healthy weight. They found that when a person becomes obese, the chances that a friend will become obese increases by 57 percent. Siblings of obese people have a 40 percent increased risk of obesity, and their spouses’ risk increased by 37 percent. Here is a link to an MSNBC article on the research.
We should be aware of the influence that our friends have on us. If you are trying to lose weight and have close friends who are overweight or obese, the social influences that are involved in the relationship could be hampering your efforts. On the other hand, the research suggests that if your friends are a healthy weight, the opposite could occur- similar dynamics could be helping you.
The philosophy that we should choose our friends wisely may have some applications in this regard. Just be on your toes and be aware of the impact that your friendships may be having on your health.
On the last day of July… I pray that you are in good health.