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, Wen, PhD
, 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.