Family, friends influence weight of young adults

January 13, 2011 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Family, friends influence weight of young adults

According to researchers at The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center in the U.S., overweight and obese young adults are more likely to have overweight romantic partners, friends and family members compared to normal weight peers.

Researchers also found that overweight and obese young adults who reported having social contacts trying to lose weight had greater weight loss intentions.

To investigate, researchers studied nearly 300 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25; 151 individuals were of normal weight, while 137 were considered overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater).

All of the participants completed questionnaires to determine their weight and height, number of overweight social contacts (including best friends, romantic partners, casual friends, relatives and colleagues/classmates) and perceived social norms for obesity and obesity-related behaviors.

Researchers found that compared to normal weight young adults, those who were overweight or obese were more likely to have an overweight romantic partner (25 percent vs. 14 percent) and an overweight best friend (24 percent vs. 14 percent).

Interestingly, social norms for obesity did not differ between the two groups.  In fact, researchers found that both groups reported similarly low levels of social acceptability for being overweight, eating unhealthy foods and being inactive.

The study was published in the journal Obesity.

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