New research finds that early-life family dietary habits and ideas about weight are important predictors of adult obesity.
A few years back, a study made headlines by suggesting that weight gainis socially contagious and that people often catch it from their friends.
Now, new research finds that these social interactions may have little impact on body weight, and that early-life family dietary habits and ideas about weight are much more important predictors of adult obesity.
Before making any final decisions, though, one professor doesn’t put too much stock in either study and says more research is needed.
Still, researcher Heather W. Brown, PhD, of Newcastle University in the U.K., says even after taking into account the impact of shared genes, her research suggests that early-life influences such as family eating habits play a big role in adult weight.
“Friends don’t appear to impact weight much, unless they happen to live in the same household,” she tells WebMD. “From a public policy point of view, this suggests that efforts to prevent obesity won’t have much of an effect if they target social networks.”