When you think of something being contagious, what do you think of? You probably think of colds, flus, etc...

But did you know that obesity is contagious? This 30 year study (published in the New England Journal of Medicine) found the following out:

-If you have a friend that becomes obese, you are 57% more likely to become obese

-If a your sibling becomes obese, you are 40% more likely to become obese

-If your spouse becomes obese, you are 37% more likely to become obese

Pretty crazy numbers right there. Do you know what the most interesting part of that is to me? The part where it says "becomes  obese".

So it appears that once again your mom was right. You become who you hang out with.

We all like to fit in right? Think about all the times you modified your behavior to fit in somewhere so you wouldn't look like a weirdo. Have you ever got caught up in the "mob mentality" phenomenon? It's happened to me at a few football games.

If you're sitting down and looking like you would rather be anywhere else at an exciting game in the fourth quarter, people would think you were nuts. So more than likely, you would be standing up and cheering too.

I saw this come true this past weekend. The awesome Katie Burrus and I went to a Core Boot Camp training workshop. It was a 5 hour class, so you were asked to bring a lunch.

Knowing they would be surrounded by a bunch of other fitness pros, what do you think people packed for lunch? Nothing but healthy stuff. I should have brought pizza and donuts. Considering 90% of the class was spent exercising, that might have ended Stand By Me style.

But that is a bright spot to this study. It means that you can influence behavior in either direction.  When you start letting it known that you live your life in a certain way, it can effect how others behave around you.

Hanging out with friends does not always mean you have to go out for dinner, drinks, and a movie. All fun things, but not the most active or original thing to do.

Have you heard of that Shakala place that opened recently in Huntsville? It is a huge, wall to wall trampoline place. You could have a blast and burn a ton of calories with friends there.

At family gatherings, there is no reason you can't bring healthy dishes to share. At the very least, that guarantees you will have something healthy you can eat there.

My main point is that you can your friends and family for better or worse with your behaviors. Be the one that breaks the cycle and you could become the reason someone is no longer obese.

When I think change, I always think of Gandhi's famous, paraphrased words on the subject: