Friends, family can influence your weight—for good or bad

you may think that being with your friend and family have nothing to do with your weight, but it actually does. An article says that being near your friends and family could positively or negatively affect your weight, they could cause you to gain or lose weight.

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Friends, family can influence your weight—for good or bad

Efforts to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle can be influenced positively—or negatively—by people closest to you, including your friends, family, spouse, and co-workers, according to Walter Willett, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

Individuals can undermine others’ weight-loss plans by encouragingunhealthy eating habits or sedentary behavior, Willett said in an August 6, 2014 interview on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio about his new bookThinfluence. The book examines how friends, family, advertisements, entertainment, and other environmental factors influence body weight.

Research has shown that a person’s chance of becoming obese increases by 57% if a close friend is obese, 40% if a sibling is obese, and 37% if a spouse is obese, according to the Thinfluence authors. “Obesity is ‘contagious’ but physical activity and healthy eating are too, so we want to emphasize the latter,” Willett said. “Invite friends to join you for a walk or for an evening of cooking healthy foods. Bring your friends along in a positive way. That is the ultimate goal.”

Co-authors of the book are cardiologist Malissa Wood, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Dan Child of ABC News.


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