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RI researchers find weight loss may be contagious

February 15, 2012
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A new study by researchers in Rhode Island has found people participating in team weight-loss competitions have significant influence over how many pounds their teammates shed.

The study by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown University is published online in the journal Obesity. The researchers say they found people who sought to drop pounds with others experienced similar weight loss results as their teammates. The study also found team members who credited their teammates for their weight loss actually slimmed down the most.

Researchers say the findings are based on the results of the 2009 Shape Up Rhode Island campaign. The 12-week statewide online weight loss competition drew 3,330 overweight or obese people to compete on teams in the categories of weight loss, physical activity and pedometer steps.

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