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Dear Poll: Are your Friends Making you Fat?

According to new research, some are saying that obesity is contagious, but not in the same way a virus is contagious, contagious in a social sense. After studying this claim, researchers believe obesity spreads through social networks from person to person to person, indicating that if someone's friend becomes obese, that person’s chances of becoming obese increases by more than half. Same thing holds true for family members -- if a person's siblings became obese, they are 40 percent more likely to grow obese, while people whose spouse's became obese were 37 percent more likely.

So what do you think about these new claims? Even if you aren't "obese" per se, do you feel yourself being influenced by your friends, family members, or spouse's eating habits and body image? Do you think the outcome of this research is viable in your life?


calli-gurl calli-gurl 9 years
i really dont care of how i look like. i hate thin, and i hate obese fat. thats unhealthy. but chubby fat is fine for me. i eat and eat and if i feel like im unhealthy fat, i go on a diet, get a bit thinner and then eat again.
melda melda 10 years
no they dont! i think i already am lol but when i go out with my friends i talk that much i forget to eat
mizz_jennii mizz_jennii 10 years
Kazagirl couldn't have said it better. I totally agree :)
po2 po2 10 years
I've always been underweight and have tried to gain weight for years. I eat a lot, and it doesn't matter what everyone around me is eating. Since your body tends to stay at one weight, it can be hard to gain. By exercising and trying to eat extra food as much as possible (which sounds dumb, if you keep eating when you're already full), I'm hoping it will work in the same way that women trying to lose weight eat smaller portions.
tralalala tralalala 10 years
I know if I'm around people eating crap, there's a better chance I'm going to give in and eat crap.
nessabum nessabum 10 years
with me, it's a mix of yes and no. but i also go to the gym, so i guess it all balances out.
JessBear JessBear 10 years
Haha, that made me laugh. My boyfriend and I moved in together a few months ago, and we've both put on more than a little weight since. We're now trying to go the opposite route and influence each other to LOSE that excess baggage.
potterlove potterlove 10 years
I dunno why, but just eat as much if not half of what some of my GUY friends eat. Like when we just get a bite to eat after school or something. But when I eat with the girls we ALWAYS share the food. We get a meal and dessert for the 4 of us (or more!) just get extra spoons and stuff.
zc zc 10 years
perhaps. eating can be a big social thing.
JustMe21 JustMe21 10 years
No, I don't think so.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
kazagirl, that was totally my response too. I thought - are they seriously wasting their money on a "study" like this? What's next? TRENDS ARE CONTAGIOUS = When models wear clothes, other people buy them! But obviously it's not always true. Obesity does run in families but like calibabi pointed out there are exceptions to the rule.
sparklestar sparklestar 10 years
I am directly influenced by my boyfriend. If I try and have "healthy" food choices then he thinks I am heading back into having the full-blown eating disorder that I did when I met him. I have since partly recovered but it is very difficult for me. So it's hard when he wants to make a meal of sausage and mash (using full fat butter in the mash, lots of) and I have to turn him down on it. Or he'll make chips and expect me to have like half of them. Or order chinese and I'll have to consume a certain amount so he doesn't think I am starving myself. >.< Sometimes I just want to have a nice salad for lunch? Or grilled chicken on ricecakes? So yes, my eating choices are directly influenced by other people and I feel under more pressure to show I am eating when I am around them.
designergirl designergirl 10 years
I feel influenced by my boyfriend, but not at all by my friends or really when I eat out. I'm more conscious of my choices when I'm at a restaurant, but I have a hard time not snacking at home when my boyfriend is!
Kazagirl Kazagirl 10 years
Good god it is not brain science, if you are around people that have a similar body type then of course it probable has an affect on your weight. I can't believe they had to do a "study" to conclude that. Anyways I think everyone is influenced to some point by their friends or family. In the end it comes down to responsibility and knowing when enough is enough.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
I def feel influenced by my hubby. But I never paid attention to how I ate with my friends.
Eternity Eternity 10 years
Absolutely. The way people are raised, their parents and friends, it all matters! I was with n Iowan guy that was 6'5" and built like a football player...only he wasn't as motivated or as fit as one. When I would cook for him I would serve us both the same plate without thinkng, and I was a size 10 almost the entire time I was with him (I am 5'4"). After he hit the road I started dating a lean fit european and I have been a size 3 ever since. (so you can have your cake and eat it too, just watch how big a slice!)
xo_verity xo_verity 10 years
I actually eat less when my friends are around... weird!
demonkitty18 demonkitty18 10 years
not that this should be used as an excuse to put the blame on somebody else, but yea it becomes alot harder when your family's eating food that isn't so healthy and you're the only one who is cautious, or even when you're out with friends- it's not always easy to refuse someone when they offer you chips or something, even watching them eat it can be hell. And from personal experience, the more fat people there are around you, the more comfortable you become about it.
Marci Marci 10 years
I think there's a lot of truth to this finding. When I lived in Texas there were a lot of very obese people, but since it was the norm and acceptable, no one worried about it too much. And I see that when people go out together, they tend to say 'the heck with it' and 'treat' themselves because they're out having a good time. That's great once in awhile, but a lot of people make a habit of it. As for me, I have so many food allergies that it keeps my eating in check. But I did battle my weight for years before those kicked in, so I recognize my former self in the profile. :D
AlecksNWondrland AlecksNWondrland 10 years
i am not influenced by what others are eating because i like to take responsibility for my own food choices. My (obese) sister on the other hand will go out to dinner with her (also obese) friends almost every night because they dont have anything else to do. it makes me really sad because they've gotten into this really bad habit of overindulging themselves and they dont plan on stopping any time soon and they dont want to listen to what others have to say. Breaks my heart.
calibabi calibabi 10 years
i feel like i am somewhat influenced by my family and friends. i certainly don't want to be the "fat sibling" or "fat friend" in my group, so i try to stay about the same size as those around me. but if for some reason one of my friends/family members became obese, i would definitely become even more careful about what i'm eating so it wouldn't happen to me. also, my husband comes from a very overweight family...literally everyone in his family is borderline obese, if not fully obese. my husband, however, is tiny skinny (skinnier than me!!) if it is contageous, you would think that he would be obese too. so i'm not fully convinced that this research is viable.
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