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Is obesity really your fault?

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa066082?viewType=Print&viewClass=Print

The power of social ties has always been an interesting subject to study. When people think about the power of social ties, the first things that come into mind are usually about friendship, professional networking and favor asking. However, in this research conducted by two sociologists, they studied the spread of obesity through the social network.

According to researches that they conducted, it shows that diseases, in this case obesity, can be in fact spread through your social ties, and its effects varies with the type of ties. For instance, if one’s sibling becomes obese, the chance that the other would become obese will increase by 40%. In addition, if the siblings have the same sex, the influence can be even greater. Another example is the effects that social ties can have on spouses. In the case of obesity, spouse can have 37% higher chance of becoming obese if its other spouse become obese.

The research conducted by the two sociologists not only demonstrated the power of social ties, in particularly the spread of obesity, but also it provided evidence to support the argument that “you are shaped by the person around you.” It seems, according to the paper, that obesity can be spread through social ties because people are constantly influenced by the things happening around them. As a result, it can be interesting to look at the spread of other poor habits, such as excessive drinking, drug usage, smoking and etc., and to see how can social ties be used to enhance eliminate those effects.

So, when you finally decided to go on a diet and start losing weight, make sure to take a look at your friends’ weight first.

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