A new study suggests that living in a community with more
obesity may be a risk factor for its individual residents to become
overweight or obese. An accompanying editorial by Leonard
H. Epstein, PhD
, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pediatrics
, and Xiaozhong,
, assistant professor of pediatrics, highlights the
important clinical and public health implications of the findings.
“The idea of obesity being contagious provides a very useful
analogy for pediatricians to recognize the association of the
social environment with obesity (through social networks and/or
social norms). It provides a stimulus to action to learn how to
deactivate the ‘virus,’ preventing transmission to
future generations,” they write.