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Important notice to all IFPA certified Personal Fitness Trainers!  The following article presents an excellent reason why all your clients need to refer you to (and bring you) all their friends and family.  You are not doing your best for your clients’ fat loss programs unless you include their friends and family, and this article proves it!!

With the end of 2020 finally in-sight, and hope of a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, please don’t let your Holiday Celebration lead you to even more weight gain that the pandemic shutdowns have caused. Please Be Aware!

If your friends and family get fat, chances are you will too, researchers report in a startling new study that suggests obesity is “socially contagious” and can spread easily from person to person.

The large, federally funded study found that to be true even if your loved ones lived far away. Social ties seemed to play a surprisingly strong role, even more than genes are known to do.

“We were stunned to find that friends who are hundreds of miles away have just as much impact on a person’s weight status as friends who are right next door,” said co-author James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego.

The study found a person’s chances of becoming obese went up 57 percent if a friend did, 40 percent if a sibling did and 37 percent if a spouse did. In the closest friendships, the risk almost tripled.

Researchers think it’s more than just people with similar eating and exercise habits hanging out together. Instead, it may be that having relatives and friends who become obese changes one’s idea of what is an acceptable weight.

Despite their findings, the researchers said people should not sever their relationships.

“There is a ton of research that suggest that having more friends makes you healthier,” Fowler said. “So the last thing that you want to do is get rid of any of your friends.”

The study was published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Researchers analyzed medical records of people in the Framingham Heart Study, which has been following the health of residents of that Boston suburb for more than a half century. They tracked records for relatives and friends using contact information that participants provided each time they were examined over a 32-year period.

In all, 12,067 people — all Framingham participants — were involved in the study.

After taking into account natural weight gain and other factors, researchers found the greatest influence occurred among friends and not in people sharing the same genes or living in the same household. Geography and smoking cessation had no effect on obesity risk.

On average, the researchers calculated, when an obese person gained 17 pounds, the corresponding friend put on an extra 5 pounds.

Gender also had a strong influence. In same-sex friendships, a person’s obesity risk increased by 71 percent if a friend gained weight. Between brothers, the risk was up by 44 percent and 67 percent between sisters.

Indiana University statistician Stan Wasserman said while the study was clever, it had its limitations because it excluded relationships outside of the Framingham group.

Obesity is a global public health problem. About 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight, including more than 650 million who are obese. Two thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.

Much of the recent research focus has been on the intense hunt for obesity genes involved in appetite or calorie burning. Treatment has been mainly centered on helping individuals curb their weight through better diet and fitness.

The findings could open a new avenue for treating this worldwide epidemic. The researchers said it might be helpful to treat obese people in groups instead of just the individual.

“Because people are interconnected, their health is interconnected,” said lead author Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a Harvard sociologist.

Obesity experts not involved in the research said the results back up what they have suspected all along that people look toward one another for what is an acceptable weight.

“If you’re just a little bit heavy and everyone around you is quite heavier, you will feel good when you look in a mirror,” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.

_ In a February 2020 US News and World report the U.S.A. experienced over a 12% jump in obesity in the last 2 decades with corresponding increases in Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers.

The U.S.A. had a 2017-18 obesity rate of 42.4% overall with blacks at 49.6%.

Severe obesity rates reached 9.3%(whites),13.8%(blacks). Sever obesity creates much higher risk of CHD and End Stage Renal disease.

Obesity World-wide is expected to afflict over 500 million people and to grow to over ONE BILLION people by 2030.

When you consider that 80% of African American women and 75% of Latino women are classified as overweight or obese, these groups need to be especially concerned over this holiday Season.

Signs/Symptoms of being Overweight:

-Tiredness

-Joint and/or back pain

-Low Self Esteem

-Low Confidence

-Snoring

-Increased Sweating

Signs of Obesity:

Waist measurement of 35 inches or more -Women

Waist measurement of 40 inches or more – Men

What can you do about it?

Plenty:

Instead of waiting till January 1st, 2021 to make your New Year’s Resolutions, DO IT NOW!

Consider this: There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. If you are just starting back to an exercise program you will probably begin with some form of aerobic exercise that will burn about 200 calories/hour. Do your own math… that means 17.5 hours of aerobic exercise to work off one of the many pounds you could add to your waistline between Thanksgiving and New Year. Many people put on over 10 pounds during this period.

10 Pounds would mean 175 hours of aerobic exercise to get back to start.

Consider this: With a little eating discipline and a commitment to start or maintain your exercise program throughout the holiday season, you could avoid the weight gain and start the New Year in far better shape. Also consider what the New Year looks like if you do not. Most resolutions fail because many people perceive that it takes too long and too much time, effort and energy, You may believe that, but I promise you this, if you follow my advice, you are sure to discover that nothing tastes as good as “Lean and Mean” feels.

Enjoy your Holidays, but please do so with an eye to the future when we can begin to re-build from the damage the virus caused us all in 2020.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays and wishing you a very Happy New Year from all of us here at the IFPA!

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