Its thin friends for me from now on

In some really intriguing new science news, it appears that being overweight has a strong social component.

Obesity can spread from person to person, much like a virus, researchers are
reporting today. When one person gains weight, close friends tend to
gain weight, too…

The investigators knew who was friends with whom as well as who was a
spouse or sibling or neighbor, and they knew how much each person
weighed at various times over three decades. That let them reconstruct
what happened over the years as individuals became obese. Did their
friends also become obese? Did family members? Or neighbors?

The answer, the researchers report, was that people were most likely
to become obese when a friend became obese. That increased a person?s
chances of becoming obese by 57 percent. There was no effect when a
neighbor gained or lost weight, however, and family members had less
influence than friends.

It did not even matter if the friend was
hundreds of miles away, the influence remained. And the greatest
influence of all was between close mutual friends. There, if one became
obese, the other had a 171 percent increased chance of becoming obese,
too.

And here's a thought-provoking line:

It may also mean that the way to avoid becoming fat is to avoid having fat friends.

Alright friends of mine, you are on notice.  Ten more pounds and then you are cut off.  Interestingly, the graph also suggests that opposite sex friends don't seem to hurt you.  All women friends for me?  What do you think Kim?

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A Moms place is in the House

I'm sure my millions of loyal readers (okay, all 6 of you) have wondered what's happened to me, but between reading the new Harry Potter book and my now complete obsession with the video game Impossible Creatures (I've not been this addicted to a game since I was 16), my free time for blogging has been dramatically curtailed.  Time for me to get back on the horse…

The Post ran a really interesting piece this weekend about Congressmoms— female members of Congress who have young children back home in their district.  The most dramatic case was that of Cathy McMorris Rodgers.  She actually just had a baby while serving in Congress.  Unfortunately for her, her home district is all the way across the country in Washington. As if that's not tough enough, her little guy has Downs Syndrome.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz also does not exactly have it easy with a 3-year old and 8-year old twins.  That's got to be plenty hard enough without a job that takes you away from home most weeks.

What seems really unfair is that the Senatorial moms just have their families in the DC area, whereas members of the House clearly feel they need to keep their family back in their home district.  Even Columbus, Ohio's Deborah Pryce (my former rep) who has adopted a child as a single mom. 

Of course, what is particularly noteworthy about this is how many people stop to think about all the men in Congress who leave their kids back at home– we don't hear a thing about it.  Its just an expected part of life, but when a women leaves her young children behind, it just seems so much more dramatic (admittedly, even for an avowed feminist like me).  In truth, a major reason that women are in Congress at much lower numbers is that so many women put off running for political office until their children are older whereas this does not seem to hold back too many men.  This is one of the reasons I do not think we'll ever have near 50% women in Congress (though I suspect the institution would be better for it). 

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