Unplug Your Fat Support Network

If you're overweight, chances are that many of your friends and family members are too. A recent study by Harvard University found that you're twice as likely to be overweight if you hang out with fat friends. And, if they're close friends, the rate triples! These findings hold true even when your friends live in another state. Being overweight also runs in families. Your risk of gaining weight increases 37% if your spouse is overweight 40% if it's your siblings. But there's an upside to all these statistics: When your friends are lean and physically active, you're much more likely to stay fit and trim.

The Bigger Picture: This study examined 12,000 people all over the age of 30. Because those with the greatest interaction within groups of fat friends tended to be obese, researchers speculated that hanging out with overweight people reinforces a tolerance for large body size. You begin to think it's okay to be fat. Fortunately, we all have the ability to make sensible eating choices and engage in daily exercise. Pull the plug on your fat support network, lay off the desserts and head to the gym.
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