Monday, September 3, 2007

Is Obesity Contagious?

Is Obesity Contagious?: "Is Obesity Contagious? Obesity Appears to Be Socially Contagious -- but It's Not About Viruses or Germs By Miranda Hitti WebMD Medical NewsReviewed by Louise Chang, MDJuly 25, 2007 -- New research on obesity shows that obesity may be contagious -- but don’t get the wrong idea about that. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, have nothing to do with bacteria or viruses. Instead, the new data show that obesity is 'socially contagious.' That means that people tend to follow suit when their friends and family become obese or lose weight to ditch obesity. 'We find that a person's chances of becoming obese increase by 57% if they have a friend who becomes obese, 40% if they have a sibling who becomes obese, and 37% if a spouse becomes obese,' say researchers Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, and James Fowler, PhD. 'Mutual friends more than triple the risk to each other,' note Christakis and Fowler. 'If one of the two [mutual friends] becomes obese, the chance for the other to follow suit goes up 171%.'"

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