Dear Dr. Mo: Could obesity be contagious?
Dear reader: Obesity is of course not infectious per se but it’s well known to be ‘socially contagious’ and in that sense your question is spot on – eating habits of eating companions or groups exert significant influence on us; and we are mostly unaware of this fact.
One is more likely to be overweight if one has a lot of friends who are overweight and a very good way to gain weight is to have lunches or dinners with other people, especially if they are overweight.
On average, if you grab a meal with a friend, you will eat about 35% more than what you would eat if you were eating alone.
If you are eating in a group of 4, you will eat about 75% more and in groups of 7 or more people, you will probably eat 96% more!
When it comes to group dynamics and their subtle influences on our eating habits it turns out that a light eater will eat much more in a group of heavy eaters and vice versa holds true as well: a heavy eater will show more self-control and restraint in a group of light eaters.
Sexes come into play as well and women will typically eat less on dates (note to women: date more to lose weight) and men have a tendency to eat a lot more on dates because they think that women are impressed by manly eating (note to men: they are not – no need to date less, just eat normally).
So if you’re struggling with your weight in any direction, try to socialize more with people likely to nudge you in the wanted direction of either weight loss or weight gain.
If you want to gain some weight, go out to dinners with groups of friends and do so often and if you want to lose weight, look for a thin friend to go for meals with.
You may also check this healthy diet out.
Yours in Health