Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Experts have identified that a 'social contagion' for obesity is a factor contributing to the increase in incidence and prevalence of obesity. If you have obese social contacts -- you are STRONGLY more likely to be get or be obese yourself.

This makes sense. You start to feel more comfortable being overweight or obese if your family and friends are in the same situation. Eating and exercise habits of friends are likely to be similar -- thus resulting in similar energy intakes and expenditures -- which leans toward the habitually positive end for everyone -- resulting in the 'whole gang' becoming overweight/obese. The Harvard researchers ran a mathematical model clearly predicting that this phenomenon will result in an estimated 42% of the adult population, eventually, becoming obese (we are now at 34% prevalence) in, say, another 40-50 years!

So, friend -- BEWARE. If you are not yet overweight or obese like the rest of the 'gang' -- give it time -- you'll get there! Certainly your children will! :(

AND.... if you are a person who LONGS to be svelte, slim, trim and fit -- I guess the take-home lesson of this research is -- choose your friends carefully.
Before you get too close to anyone, look them up and down, with dogged scrutiny for any signs of blub or chubb -- anywhere -- love handles, muffin tops, double chins,bat(sometimes called 'bingo') wings, cherubic cheeks, chaffing thighs, tree-stump legs, and big ole' jelly bellies. Check, check --here or there? Walk on by.

No, run! Run like the wind. As a matter of fact -- steer clear of not just friends, but ANYONE who you may spend alot of time with and hang out with -- lovers, spouses, family members, perhaps work associates -- who may be on the chunky side. Never mind if they are kind, caring, funny, intelligent, hard-working, loyal, loving people -- a person's gotta do what a person's gotta do. And a big personal goal of yours is to be fit and thin and you DON'T want to run the risk of screwing your life up and increasing your odds and becoming yet another obesity statistic by interpersonal association with unfit, fat folks.

WAIT A MINUTE!!! 'Modelling' research (from the Harvard study and others) ALSO shows that, on the other hand, weight-loss efforts, AS WELL, are enhanced by having a strong social network of support and IF, the 'gang' is all trying their level best to shed the unwanted fat and change over to obesity-busting habits and lifestyles, then the probability that EVERYONE will succeed, increases.

And why didn't the researchers perform a similar study or run a similar model to verify that, likewise, 'fit' begets 'fit'?? That is, that trim and fit people who hang out with trim and fit people have a certain percentage of possibility to get and become trim and fit because of THEIR social contagion? I mean, of course, we can infer and/or deduce that this happens, but the study(ies)and model(s) are NOT there! That would REALLY strengthen the power of the mathematical modelling. But, I digress here....

In my humble opinion, the REAL take-home lessons of the research is that:

1) this information is NOT conclusive or certain as it is based on a mathematical model which IS just THAT -- a PLASTIC source of data which CAN be CHANGED ....IF...

2) YOU decide TODAY to become the SOLUTION instead of part of the PROBLEM to this 'mathematical' conundrum! YOU HAVE THE POWER and ABILITY TO BE A MATHEMATICAL GENIUS!! YES, YOU!!!

In other words -- please enjoy the company of a variety of friends, lovers, family members, spouses, children, work associates, etc., but PLEASE eat balanced, healthy foods and decide TODAY not to overeat YOURSELF or encourage others around to overeat or be sedentary BY OVEREATING and BY BEING SEDENTARY YOURSELF! And, DO IT! LIVE IT! You don't have to lecture or warn or recommend or say a word to your friends and loved ones! JUST BE A QUIET (or LOUD -- depending on how you are), FUN-LOVING EXAMPLE of HEALTHY EATING. Likewise -- BE ACTIVE! GET ACTIVE! GET YOUR FRIENDS and LOVERS, and KIDS and MOMS and DADS, and HUSBANDS and WIVES to get active. You don't have to push and prod and lecture and be all naggy and self-righteous and boorish about it.

Just be a great friend, spouse, lover, family member -- heck -- 'SOCIAL CONTACT' and SPREAD HEALTHY LIVING!

Let the retooling of the mathematical models begin! :)

Mary-Jo R. Overwater, MSc, MMSc, RD

It's kind of fun to do the impossible. Walt Disney

No comments: