Older Canadians need peer pressure to keep weight down: Study

Credits: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


Canadian researchers say the key to preventing obesity is having active friends, especially for the elderly.

When it comes to keeping their weight in check, elderly Canadians are more influenced by their friends and family than are young Canadians.

Researchers at Queen's University looked at 2,707 people in Montreal, and examined the exercise patterns of three people close to them.

For those aged 18 to 54, having peers who are active meant they were more likely to be active themselves.

The same was true for those over 55, but at this point, the peers' exercise habits seemed to directly influence a person's weight.

People over 55 with inactive friends and family were more likely to be obese- a connection not found among younger participants.

"The study shows the importance a person's social networks have in supporting a physically active lifestyle and reducing the odds of obesity. Our friends influence us and our obesity levels - but it appears that relationship is stronger as we get older," lead author Spencer Moore, a professor of kinesiology and health sciences, said in a press release.

"The findings are important to public health officials who look at ways to improve the health levels of older adults."

The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

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