New Study Links Obesity to Social Services - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Study Links Obesity to Social Services

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TRI-CITIES, Wash. - A new study suggested that getting fat is a social affair.

Researchers at UC San Diego sifted through more than 50-years worth of medical records of an entire Boston suburb, some 12-thousand people.

They found loved ones, even ones who live hundreds of miles away, play a surprisingly strong role in the growth of a person's waist line. 

The study suggests obesity is a "socially contagious" disease that can spread from person to person and that social pull appears to be even stronger than genetics.

The study reports that a person's chances of becoming obese increase nearly 60 percent if a friend has.

Researchers said there is more at play than similar health habits.  They also believe having relatives and friends who become obese changes one's idea of what is an acceptable weight.