Dieting? Choose Your Friends WiselyIf you are serious about losing weight, you should spend more time socially with your thin friends. Overweight people who want to shed pounds are less likely to lose weight if they only socialize with other overweight people, according to researchers from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
The study: Led by sociologist Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., the team analyzed a Gallup Organization poll of 9,335 of U.S. adults ages 18 to 65. Researchers supplemented the Gallup data with additional questions, tracking for one year the participants' self-reported social networking changes and weight loss. All were asked whether they wanted to lose, maintain or increase their weight.
In addition, the respondents identified the four adults with whom they most frequently spent their free time--be it members of their household, relatives or friends--and rated each of those four adults' body mass relative to their own. They also listed how often they interacted with these close contacts, including in person, telephone, email, texting and/or social media.
The results: After analyzing the data, the researchers found that while heavy people are more emotionally comfortable around their heavier friends--experiencing less weight discrimination with them--they are more apt to lose weight if they also include thinner people in their social network.
The study was published in the journal Obesity.