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Desire To Get Slim And Healthy May Be Contagious

January 14, 2011 by  

Desire to get slim and healthy may be contagiousA recent study from The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center reveals that overweight or obese young adults who have goals to get fit are likely to influence their similarly-built friends to do the same.

The study, published in journal Obesity, looked at 288 people aged 18 to 25 — 151 of whom were normal weight and the remainder were overweight or obese — and found that while heavier individuals are more likely to associate with others who are overweight, they also have the same perceived social norms for weight loss as their thinner peers.

Questions regarding social norms sought to find how frequently overweight participants had been encouraged by social contacts to lose weight and what their loved-ones' perceptions of them would be if they were to lose weight.

Dr. Tricia Leahey, lead author of the study, said the findings show a general disapproval of an unhealthy lifestyle.

"Both groups reported similarly low levels of social acceptability for being overweight, eating unhealthy foods and being inactive," Leahey told Lifespan.org, a healthcare information website.

The similarity in mindset may suggest that people who are overweight or obese would respond well to encouragement and approval from others 

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