If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you probably know how hard it can be to stick to your eating plan at a family meal, a holiday barbecue, or when you go out to dinner or to the bar with friends. This is because what we eat is very much influenced by the people that we surround ourselves with.
While this can be bad news for people trying to eat healthfully while in the company of those who aren’t, the opposite can also be true: it’s possible for healthy eaters to influence others in their lives to eat better, lose necessary weight, and improve their health overall.
Obesity Among Friends
As you can see in the infographic below, humans are very much social creatures – and that goes for our food choices, as well. For example, people are 37% more likely to be obese if their spouse is obese, and they’re 57% more likely to be obese if their friends are.
These statistics are fairly serious when you take into account the fact that obesity is at the root of some of today’s most common causes of death in the Western world: heart disease, diabetes, and complications of high blood pressure.
Making A Change
While this at first seems like very bad news, the use of social networks (both online and in real life) to mediate health is actually a significant possibility. As the infographic shows, for example, while women with friends who eat a lot of fast food tend to stick to the same habits themselves, women with friends who eat lots of fruits and veggies also tend to eat a lot of fruits and veggies.
This means that healthy eaters can help those they care about lose weight, perhaps simply by being a good example or by making suggestions to, say, go out to a restaurant with more healthy options together rather than get takeout for guys’ night.
Want to learn more about influencing those you care about to be healthier? Check out this infographic!