Fatness, Fitness, and Friends

The perennial debate over nature versus nurture has a new venue: your waistline. According to a news report today:

“Your friends may be more important than your genes in determining whether you gain weight, according to a new study billed as the first to demonstrate that obesity tends to spread through social networks.

“The study, which followed a group of Americans for more than three decades, found that a person’s chances of becoming obese increase dramatically after a close friend or relative fattens up. The same thing happens when someone close slims down.

“The authors of the paper speculate the reason is ‘the spread of norms from people to people. People change their minds about what constitutes an acceptable body mass index’ as their close friends gain or lose weight, said co-author Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School.”

No doubt we are social beings, taking our cues from those around us, though of course our genetics still must be accounted for. The good news is that we have more influence than we think. Let’s use it wisely.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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