Heavy Roommate a Help in Fight Against Fat

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 23 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say women college freshmen experience less weight gain when they have heavy roommates.

Researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor find first-year college students whose roommates weighed more than average gained an average of about one-half a pound vs. women with slimmer roommates, who gained 2.5 pounds.

“This finding seems counterintuitive, but there are some good explanations for why it may be happening,” researcher Kandice Kapinos says in a statement.

Kapinos suggests the heavier roommates are more likely than average-weight women to diet, to exercise more often, to use weight loss supplements and to purchase college meal plans with limited food access.

“These behaviors are what may really be ‘contagious,’” Kapinos says.

Kapinos, Olga Yakusheva of Marquette University and colleagues made use of college campus randomized roommate assignments to study 144 female dorm students.

The findings were presented in Ithaca, N.Y., at the annual meeting of the American Society of Health Economists.

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