London: Think twice before you befriend a fat person! A new research claims that socialising with people heavier than yourself can make you put on weight. 

Scientists James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis examined 32 years of data collected during a study of people's hearts in the town of Framingham in Massachusetts.
 
They discovered that where two people who are friends for a long time, and where one is heavier than the other, the thinner friend tended to increase in weight by up to 57 percent over time.
 
The figure turned starker when compared to the likelihood of the same happening between genetic relations at 40 percent, and spouses, where the weight increase is an average of 37 percent.
 
As an example of how it affects people who aren't friends, the pair studied the weights of neighbours and found no link in weight increase.
 
Christakis, a professor of medicine, healthcare policy and sociology at Harvard said, “I think our findings reinforced the idea that because people are interconnected, their health is interconnected.”
 
But here is the good news. The process could be reversible too, helping obese people lose weight.
 
Christakis said, “The same kind of phenomenon that contributes to an obesity epidemic could potentially be harnessed to contribute to a reversal of the epidemic, because it's equally the case that one person losing weight contributes to the other people around them losing weight.”

(Agencies)