Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Obesity is Catching

Obesity is infectious, you get it from your friends,
according to research from Harvard University. The
researchers reported back in 2007 that if someone’s
friend is overweight, that person’s chances of
becoming obese increases by more than half. This
might explain why the same researchers recently
found that obesity, which now plagues a third of all
Americans, will rise to 42% of the nation in the next
few years. A mathematical model for four decades
of data from the long-running Framingham Study
was used to investigate the probability of becoming
obese and its causes. Since 1971, a person’s
contact with friends who are overweight or obese
has increased dramatically. Using this model, the
researchers found that an American adult has a
2% chance of becoming obese in any given year
and each obese social contact increases the risk of
obesity by 0.5% per year. Unfortunately, befriending
lean friends does not appear to have the opposite
effect of helping a person lose weight. “You can’t
really catch healthiness,” states Alison Hill, lead
researcher on the study. But, it appears that excess
body fat is very catching!

In Perspective: As of January 2010,
68% of Americans are overweight with BMIs of 25
or more (the equivalent of being 5’5” and weighing
150 pounds), according to U.S. Government
researchers. That excess poundage increases a
person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension,
cancer, vision loss, suppressed immune
function, dementia, depression, infertility and sexual
dysfunction, arthritis, shortened life expectancy, and
much, much more.

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1 comment:

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