Fight a contagious epidemic

Millions of Americans are worried about the swine flu, and well they should be. Although the H1N1 virus hasn’t been as deadly as some predicted earlier this year, it has swept rapidly across the country and sickened millions of people. And it has caused the deaths of at least 1,000 Americans.

But there’s another epidemic, far more deadly and, according to one important study, also very contagious.

Fortunately for those of us who live here, Coloradans appear to have a greater immunity to this affliction than residents of other states. But it remains a serious and life-threatening condition, even here.

The affliction is obesity. And a study released two years ago suggested obesity can spread among friends. A person’s odds of becoming obese more than double if a close friend gains a large amount of weight, the study found.

This was no dubious study with a few participants. It involved more than 12,000 people tracked over three decades through the famous Framingham, Mass., heart study.

But here’s where Coloradans have an advantage. Based on data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control, Colorado has the lowest rate of adult obesity of all 50 states. In a state famous for its multitude of outdoor activities, friends may be helping friends avoid obesity.

So spread the word. Exercising with friends is a great way to fight a dangerous, contagious disease.


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