- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Obesity is deadly, epidemic and … contagious?

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics shows that being around obese people for extended periods makes it more likely that you will become obese.

The study also suggests that people who are surrounded by a community and environment that promote healthy living will mirror that lifestyle.

“Even though the word ‘contagion’ has a negative connotation, what we really want people to take away is that we can actually use it to our advantage,” Ashlesha Datar, co-author of the recently published study, told The Washington Times.

More than one-third of the U.S. population is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excessive weight and obesity are contributing factors to the leading causes of death and health maladies in the country, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and a number of cancers.

A number of factors have contributed to the nation’s obesity epidemic — including sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary choices and limited access to healthy opportunities — but the latest research emphasizes that changing cultural norms have made the problem worse.