In the long list of things that you can spread to your friends—the flu, yawning, bad moods—a few extra pounds usually doesn’t rank. But researchers have found that much like a sexually transmitted disease, obesity could also be spread via close proximity.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, researchers from the University of Southern California and think tank Rand Corp. delved into whether obesity could spread through social contagion. This phenomenon encompasses the idea that certain behaviors and beliefs, such as smoking or happiness, can be spread just like a pathogen. As a stastician explained to Science magazine in a story last year about the theory, people who exercise, eat healthy and refrain from smoking generally don’t run in the same circles as those who have opposite behaviors.
Excerpted from Newsweek