It might stem from the spirit of competition or a result of peer pressure. But whatever might be the reason, a new study suggests that to shed extra pounds, it’s best to partner up with a friend. Researchers have reportedly claimed that people who stay together, get rid of flab together.
Similar to US reality TV show, Big Fat Loser, which follows teams of overweight Americans as they shed pounds, a team of US researchers say that weight loss is contagious. For the process to be a success, it must be undertaken in a competitive and conducive social environment.Previous studies have also revealed that the opposite can be true and obesity can likewise occur among friends. A 2010 study by Harvard University suggested that having obese friends increases a person's chance of becoming obese.
The study, that was published online in the journal Obesity, was based on data from an online weight loss competition held in 2009 at Rhode Island, spanning 12 weeks. About 3,330 overweight and obese participants represented 987 teams, averaging 5 to 11 members.
Researchers found that the participants who lost significant amounts of weight, tended to be on the same team and being on a team with larger group of people was also associated with greater weight loss. Also, those who reported higher levels of social influence among teammates had increased odds of shedding weight.
Taking the same concept forward, the website, Weightlossbuddy.com was created to help people find a support system in their weight loss endeavor. The website matches people online by sex, age, location, weight loss goals and the number of pounds to lose.