Studies have shown that people who are overweight or obese tend to have friends and family members who also carry excess body fat. In addition, researchers believe that weight loss may also be contagious.
In a study, researchers followed 35 gastric bypass patients for a year and found that their obese adult relatives lost an average of 8 pounds over the trial period. Moreover, kids were also influenced by family weight loss role models and they tended to have lower body mass indexes at the end of the year.
Authors of the study noted that the patients’ relatives who lost weight lived in the same household as the person who underwent the surgery, and accompanied them on clinical visits and lifestyle counseling sessions. These included advice on healthy eating, the importance of physical activity and how to achieve a good night’s rest.
“Family members were able to lose weight comparable to being part of a medically controlled diet simply by accompanying the bariatric surgery patient to their pre- and post-operative visits,” said senior author John Morton, M.D., M.P.H.