A study of more than 1,500 families published in JAMA Pediatrics finds that the people in your neighborhood can have an effect on your weight. Communities with a higher rate of obesity put parents and kids at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.
And it doesn’t take a lot—these scientists found that a 1-percentage-point higher rate of obesity within the county of residence was associated with a higher BMI and odds of obesity for both parents and children.
"In other words, living in a community where obesity is more common can make sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating and overweight or obesity more socially acceptable," Ashlesha Datar, one of the authors of the study, told the Financial Express.
And guess what? The opposite is also true. In places with lower rates of obesity, the families studied were less likely to be overweight or obese.
Researchers noted the large influence friends and family have on body weight and behaviors as well. In these communities, when you copy the behavior of those you respect or hold in high regard, you're more likely to follow suit. What’s the result, according to the researchers? “Try and stay in your own lane, or at least be cognizant of how other people's actions are influencing your own.”