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"obesity is contagious"

An interesting article about an obesity study was just published in the NYTimes: "Obesity can spread from person to person, much like a virus, researchers are reporting today. When one person gained weight, their close friends tended to gain weight, too."

The most interesting piece of the article was "You change your idea of what is an acceptable body type by looking at the people around you."

Have you ever felt "dragged" into gaining weight? What do you think about the acceptance of a larger weight and size as a culture?


Wed. Jul 25, 3:20pm

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I married a man who was seriously overweight (about 270); I was at a good weight (about 150 / 5' 7 1/2"). I immediately started to gain weight and kept gaining until I passed 190. Then I managed to brake and lose a few pounds. However I remained in the mid-180's until I joined PT. I am now at 148 and am thrilled. And finally, my husband has decided that he, also, wants to lose weight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will also succeed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007, 3:35 PM

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It is true. I moved to Canada from France, and I didn't even noticed how big I got until I went back for holidays. I need to lose 10 lbs at least and everyone in Toronto thinks I would be too skinny. Not so much in France.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007, 4:13 PM

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I know that I would have dedicated to losing weight much sooner if it weren't for my best friend, who is the same size as me. Our bodies are very similar and we wear the same size clothes. She has a lot of self-confidence, which is awesome, but it put me in the denial of thinking that its acceptable to be overweight. No matter how comfortable you are in your own skin, it isn't good for your health to carry excess weight on your body. It took me a while to take that seriously and act accordingly but I think the realization would have happened for me sooner if I was the "big girl" out of all my friends instead of having a friend that made me feel totally normal. She's been a great support though so its not all bad. Just goes to show that obesity study is totally right. Its unfortunate we have to judge ourselves through others' eyes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007, 4:24 PM

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I gained about 15 pounds along with my 3 roomates in college so I believe it happens.

Just take a look at the epidemic in America... We are all following each other's leads.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007, 4:24 PM

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my husband is thin as a stick and i am about 35lbs overweight. we have been together for 8yrs and he still hasnt gained an ounce.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007, 6:55 PM

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Thursday, July 26, 2007, 10:26 AM

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My fiancee isnt overweight, but she always keeps junk food around. It does for sure rub off (I've recently gained about 5 pounds back - I should have been looking at the scale a bit more)

The worst is cooking two seperate dinners.

Thursday, July 26, 2007, 10:43 AM

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I'm from Europe, and when I came over to America as a kid, my mom weighed about 125 pounds. She escalated to about 169 in the course of 5 years withought even knowing it. We live in a culture of consupmtion and overindulgence, and obesity goes hand in hand with that. Back in the old country we focused a lot more on things besides food, whereas everything here revolves around it. Gatherings, weekends, outings, they are all somehow focused on food.

Thursday, July 26, 2007, 10:49 AM

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In high school, I had two close friends. One of them has been skinny her entire life. The other one lost a lot of weight during one year (and kept it off). I've just remained an average size throughout. However, my *concern* with my body shape has increased as my friend lost weight. Does that say anything? I'm not sure.

Thursday, July 26, 2007, 10:52 AM

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First read leads to skepticism

Report was interesting...think I'll go back to the original study too and take a look.

I read with skepticism... there is such a sound byte approach to reporting and I am afraid people will take this extremely complex multidimensional problem, reduce it to the reporting sound bytes and use the "information" to villify obese people. Great help!

As we have grown obese as a nation there is some level of acceptance, sort of...we see it it seems more a reality. But I wonder how much it is a driving force. Friendship happens for a variety of reasons....there is identification on a wide range of levels. Maybe some of those factors of identification (like stress level or quiet sedentary life style) are factors that can contribute to obesity...but I wonder how much emulation of a friend with a weight problem is the driver.

That's just my first impression reading the report....I worry how it will be interpreted. I worry parents will discourage their children from making friends with other children who struggle with weight problems...I worry people who need love and support will be abandoned....that a type of anti-fat prejudice will be OK. There is so much more to this problem. to look at the real study....

Thursday, July 26, 2007, 11:11 AM

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