The Checkup: Your Friends May Be Making You Fat

You are who you eat with, a new study says.


• The next time your scale ticks up a notch, you might want to take a good, hard look at … your friends. A new study found that your friends’ weight could influence your own. Researchers looked at students from two high schools and found that those who were overweight and had thin friends had a 40 percent chance of dropping weight within the next year, and only a 27 percent chance of gaining weight. Overweight students who had obese friends were faced a 56 percent chance of weight gain, and only a 15 percent chance of weight loss. Clearly, who you hang out with matters—these are the same people you’ll go to happy hour with, after all—but I have to wonder: Is it fair to draw the same conclusions about adults and their friends as high schoolers and their friends? I like to think I’ve grown up quite a bit since my days of study halls and vocab quizzes and after-school sports. And I like to think that we, as adults, have outgrown at least some of the peer pressure we faced in high school, that obnoxious feeling that we had to do exactly what our BFFs were doing—you know, like eating salad when someone else was eating salad, or scarfing pizza because the cool kids were doing it (does that happen?). What I’m saying is, I’m sure social relationships factor in to our weight, but maybe not as prominently as they did in high school. And that, I think, is a good thing.

• I’m not a huge Gatorade person, but in case you are, read this: “According to the advice in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Sports Nutrition manual, individuals exercising less than 45 minutes, don’t need to drink sports drinks in place of water during their workout.”

TIME Healthland’s latest By the Numbers shows that overworked, burned-out nurses are no good to anyone.