A new study, conducted by a pair of US economists, suggests that being in a social network with a higher level of obesity puts people at risk of increasing body mass index (BMI).
The study was conducted on families living on military bases. The researchers found that exposure to communities with higher rates of obesity was associated with higher BMI in parents and children.
With the help of data from the Military Teenagers’ Environments, Exercise, and Nutrition Study, the scientists combined details on 1,111 young adolescents and more than 1,300 parents assigned to one of 12 military bases in the US.
The authors explain in their report: “While this study cannot definitively rule out the role of shared environments with the available measures, these findings suggest that other mechanisms may be at work.”