CHICAGO (CBS Houston) – If high school couldn’t get any more complicated, a new study indicates that the group of friends that teenagers hang out with will dictate whether they’re bound to gain weight.

Teens who hang out with friends who are heavier than they are usually lead to an environment more conducive for gaining weight, according to a recent study conducted by the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The study, which was published in PLoS ONE earlier this month, focused on more than 1,750 high school students from two high schools. One of the high schools had a mostly white population and was located in a rural area, while the other school had a city setting with a more racially diverse student body, according to the study. Throughout the course of the observational study, researchers gathered info from teens about items such as weight, amount of time spent in front of a TV or computer doing pair programming and the sports they played. The available data that was used was from more than a decade ago, before the rise of social media, according to the study.

What the researchers found was that there was a much greater chance of teens gaining weight rather than losing weight if he or she hung out with friends who were heavier than them.

“These results can help us develop better interventions to prevent obesity,” David Shoham, the study’s author and an assistant professor of preventive medicine and epidemiology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a news release. “We should not be treating adolescents in isolation.”


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