If You Want To Slim Down, Go Out With Thin People
Having obese relatives increases the risk of obesity. Without giving up your friends, be sure to surround yourself with people who will help you lose weight!
The environment in which we live plays a role in food: the presence of more or less healthy products in the cupboards or supermarkets that we frequent, eating habits acquired since childhood … But, what about Your social environment? Does it not increase your risk of gaining weight?
A social network not totally innocent
In 2007, Nicolas Christakis and James Fowler, two American researchers, highlighted a phenomenon that was suspected: we imitate the behavior of our relatives, and this mimicry goes as far as food. To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed data from the Framingham study; They have built a social network covering more than 50,000 people. In the Framingham study, a person had a 57% chance of being overweight if a friend was also.
Thin friends help to lose weight
In a study published in 2016, researchers wanted to know if wanting to lose weight was associated with changes in social contacts. They analyzed information on more than 9,300 people between the ages of 18 and 65 in the United States who were participating in a Gallup survey. Participants were asked if they wanted to lose weight and give information about the four people with whom they spent the most time in society (friends or relatives): weight of these four people and frequency of their contacts. A year later, they answered the same questions.
The study shows that people who want to lose weight tend to take as friends stronger people than they; This may be due to the fact that overweight or obese people feel less stigmatized with “bigger” friends. For example, those who said they wanted to lose weight were more likely to have at least one bigger contact than those who said they wanted to stay the same weight. A year later, people who wanted to lose weight were less likely to have a thinner contact than those who wanted to maintain the same weight. Over time, people who wanted to lose weight interacted more frequently (+ 69 interactions per year) with people who were stronger and reduced their interactions (- 51 interactions per year) with thinner people.
On the other hand, the increase in contacts and interactions with thinner individuals was associated with weight loss: people who added a thinner person in their contacts during the year had more Chances of losing weight. The addition of a thinner person in his social network was associated with a decrease in the BMI of 0.08 (about 300 g) for a person measuring 1.78m.
Of course, the study does not mean that we must abandon our overweight friends, explain the researchers. But, it suggests that people who want to lose weight should frequent more thin friends …
In the restaurant, eat with people who have a healthy diet
The very fact of eating at a restaurant with friends can make us eat more than expected: we consume 35% more food when we eat with someone else, and even 75% more with 3 other people. Moreover, when several people eat together in restaurants, they tend to select dishes in the same menu category. This is the result of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in Washington.
In this study, Brenna Ellison, an economist from the University of Illinois, analyzed the equivalent of three months of orders from a Stillwater restaurant in Oklahoma. In one part of the restaurant, a color code was present on the menu. According to the restaurant’s servers, the color codes caused much discussion on the part of the customers. In this sector, the tables commanded fewer calories on average: there was pressure from the entourage to order low-calorie dishes.
So, if you have trouble turning to healthy foods, eat with friends who will know how to influence you!
Christakis NA, Fowler JH. The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jul 26; 357 (4): 370-9.
Andersson MA, Christakis NA. Desire for weight loss, weight-related social contact, and body mass outcomes. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Jul. 24 (7): 1434-7. Doi: 10.1002 / oby.21512.
Brenna Ellison. ‘I’ll Have What He’s Having’: Group Ordering Behavior in Food Choice Decisions. 2013 AAEA and CAES Joint annual meeting. Session 1080.