A study published in last week's New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institute on Aging suggested that if our friends and family become obese, it will influence whether we become obese as well.
The study found that our chances of becomeing obese go up 57 percent if our friends are obese, 40% if our siblings become obese and 37% if our spouse is, or becomes obese. However, the study suggests that persons of the same sex had relatively greater influence on each other than those of the opposite sex.
Network phenomena appear to be relevant to the biologic and behavioral trait of obesity, and obesity appears to spread through social ties.
In my mind and in the mind of the study author, these findings have implications for clinical and public health interventions.