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The people you hang out with can influence how much body fat hangs from your frame. A growing body of research suggests that how much your friends weigh affects your tendency to gain weight or lose it. Thinner friends may lower the odds that you’ll gain weight.
A study of high school students by researchers at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine found that kids were more likely to gain weight if they had friends who were heavier than they were. Conversely, students were more likely to get trimmer (or gain weight at a slower pace) if their friends were leaner than they were.
Students’ social networks also influence how active they are in sports. (By social networks, these researchers mean face-to-face friends, not Facebook friends.)
“These results can help us develop better interventions to prevent obesity,” says researcher David Shoham.