If you live in a community with a high rate of obesity, it is likely that your own weight will increase as well, according to a recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association.
Researchers studied more than 1,500 U.S. military families who were assigned to 38 places with varying obesity rates.
The reason why military families were the sample of study is that they usually relocate according to military requirements instead of personal choice, thus avoiding the self-selection bias.
Using data on county obesity prevalence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that those who were assigned to communities with higher rates of obesity reported a higher rate of becoming overweight.
"Living in a community where obesity is more of the norm than not can influence what is socially acceptable in terms of eating and exercise behaviors and body size," Ashlesha Datar, author of the study, explained.
Researchers added that the result may help explain why obesity rates in some regions of U.S. tend to be higher than those in other regions.