Look out! There’s a new STD on the loose! A Socially Transmitted Disease that could be making you fat.
That’s right, obesity is now considered “socially contagious.” In fact, a new study done by Harvard Medical School and published in the New England Journal of Medicine says that if you have any girl friends that are obese, your chances of being obese rise 71%.
Of course, if you befriend an overweight male, your chances of packing on the pounds are only 57%.
According to the study, it has nothing to do with what you eat when you’re around those who are overweight. Which was my initial thought. I mean, if your friends want ice cream or pizza, most times you go along with the crowd, right?
Apparently food is not a factor. It’s all about your perception. If you have obese friends, their weight could skew your own view of your body; making you think it is okay to be overweight.
Which makes sense. I have times when I think I’m a total fatty even though logically I know the truth—which is that I’m not fat. Maybe it has something to do with the models I constantly see walking around Manhattan? Or the models I would always see coming in and out of the doors during the old days of interning at magazines? Or just models in general?
So really, the study isn’t that striking. The people around you and the things you are exposed to every day (whether it is an overweight friend or one who is a waif) change the way you think about yourself.
And really, I could have told Harvard that years ago.