No, obesity is not contagious in medical terms. But it can be caught by being in constant contact with people who are obese or overweight. Here’s how.

Your close friends and family can influence your body weight. An extensive study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed that people can actually pack the pounds if their close acquaintances are obese or overweight. Researchers followed 12,067 people over 32 years, and concluded that people with very close obese friends are 171 percent more likely to become obese too. The theory behind this revelation is that friends who overeat may unwittingly influence you to follow the lead. The study also declared the surprisingly fact that spouses are less influential in molding your fitness habits, than buddies of the same sex.

Take heart, for this may work in reverse as well. Hanging out with slimmer, fitter people might help you lose weight.

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