Obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide and affects most adults. Obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease. Recently, a new study reported that obesity is contagious. A study by Harvard scientists published in the top international journal "NEJM" explores how obesity spreads across social networks through a 32-year follow-up study. Research has surprisingly found that obesity is truly contagious, spreading among family members and among friends.
The study conducted a 32-year follow-up survey of 12,067 people with close social ties and found that within a fixed period of time, if the respondents' friends became obese, the probability of him himself becoming obese increased by 57%; If a sibling or spouse becomes obese, his odds of becoming obese will increase by 40% or 37%.
Obesity is susceptible to family clustering, and so is weight loss! Relatives of weight-loss intervention participants may also make changes to their lifestyles and lose weight. Research has shown that weight loss can also be contagious, and people who live with patients who are undergoing weight loss therapy also benefit from the therapy and achieve weight loss results.
The study analyzed data from 148 patients' family members who were enrolled in the weight loss and lifestyle program PREDIMED Plus for two years. The researchers analyzed whether these people also benefited indirectly from the program because they did not participate in the study and did not receive any direct treatment.
Although not included in the weight loss program, relatives of these losers (three-quarters were the patient's partner, the rest were children, parents, siblings, etc.) lost an average of 1.25 kg in the first year of the program, compared with the control group Comparison of relatives of patients. By the second year, the weight loss had increased to 4 kg. These numbers are better when family members eat with the patient, especially when the patient cooks for himself.
The study also analyzed the results of the PREDIMED Plus regimen in 117 patients. Compared with the participants in the control group, they lost 5.10 kg in the first year of the intervention, which increased to 6.79 kg in the second year. They also significantly improved physical activity levels, as well as adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
The project's principal investigator explained that the therapy, aimed at reducing weight in people at high risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease by following a Mediterranean diet, did not just reduce the patient's weight, but also extended to their home environment.
There was also an increase in family members' commitment to the Mediterranean diet, according to a questionnaire assessing the eating habits. But when it comes to physical activity, this is not the case. In addition to weight loss, people are more adhering to the Mediterranean diet because of its inherent health benefits, such as protection against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
In a short, Taken together, the results of this study demonstrate the contagious effects of a treatment regimen on relatives of participants who participated in an intensive weight loss program, as well as greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet. The beneficial effects of this program on one member of the family can be extended to other members, which is extremely important in reducing the burden of obesity on the public health system. Not only did family members lose weight, but they also improved the quality of their diets.