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ASU Research: Overweight Teenagers Have Fewer Friends

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Researchers at Arizona State University found in a study of teenagers that overweight teens had an average of one fewer friend than non-overweight teens.

Additionally, when the kids were asked to make a list of their closest friends, non-overweight teens chose more non-overweight friends, whereas overweight kids weren't as discriminatory on weight in the selection of their closest friends.

As you can see in the video from ASU's video department below, ASU associate professors David Schaefer says it appears that overweight seem to seek the friendship of non-overweight kids, but sometimes get "rebuffed" doing so.

"Nonoverweight youths were 30% more likely to select a nonoverweight friend than an overweight friend, whereas overweight youths were largely indifferent to the weight status of their friends," the research paper's abstract says. "Friendship ties from overweight youths to nonoverweight peers were more likely than ties in the reverse direction."

The paper, "Using Social Network Analysis to Clarify the Role of Obesity in Selection of Adolescent Friends," was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

In addition to this study, other ASU researchers are also researching how weight problems effect relationships among college freshmen.

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Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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