Does This Friend Make Me Look Fat?
If you wake up every morning next to a fat slob, chances are you could stand a diet yourself, or so says the latest research on obesity spreading in social circles. Finally, a scientific study, led by a researcher from Harvard Medical School nonetheless, that shows us what we all learned in those painful years of middle school: the skinny befriend the skinny at dances and the overweight stick together fiercely at lunch hour.
From the study we learn that if your spouse is obese, you are 37% times more likely to become obese yourself within the next two to four years. With a same-sex sibling, the chance rises to 40%, and here is the kicker: with mutual friends, it skyrockets to 171% more likely. The researchers tracked 12,000 people over 32 years, so these numbers are quite telling.
In theory, as your friends become obese you begin to experience a creeping sensation of not only accepting their physical state but emulating it. Friends share many things in common and having similar relationships with food bonds people together in a way that music or hobbies just can’t. Discussing life’s travails over a Denny’s Grand Slam or splitting a large Papa John’s between two people becomes a way of life for some groups of friends. It’s all about the scale of indulgences. While the Grand Slam represents excess on one side, other social networks go all out by chomping down a box of orange Tic-Tacs after dinner.
This teaches us the dangerous underbelly of friendship. Someone who camps out for the grand opening of Krispy Kreme in Provo is very likely to have an associate willing to sacrifice their beauty sleep for the same end goal, a glistening box of glazed wonders hot off the conveyer belt. Someone moved by Fergie’s adolescent “I miss you like a child misses their blanket” lyrics is 171% more likely to be friends with someone who feels the same way. Watch your back.
Now I’ve got dibs on Nicole Richie as my best friend and my son weights 22 lbs. Does that help my risk go down?
So now, instead of worrying just about your own weight, you’ve got to worry about your friends, family and loved ones. You’ve heard people say they’re eating for two. Now we’re eating for everyone. Do your friends a favor. Switch to Diet Coke. Eat a vegetable for your spouse. If you notice someone slipping, let us remind them that we’re all in this together.
Before you get into a serious relationship, LeMare, have the common sense to check out the guy’s refrigerator.