The size of your bel­ly can depend on who you hang out with.

We all know those “friends” who only get in touch when they need some­thing. Or a rel­a­tive who only asks to bor­row mon­ey. Or a col­league who only crit­i­cizes your ideas. Maybe you are sur­round­ed only by them: com­plain­ing, judg­ing, blam­ing.

When living together is a burden

These tox­ic rela­tion­ships neg­a­tive­ly impact more than just your men­tal health. A new study of more than three thou­sand adults aged 30 to 40 found that par­tic­i­pants who suf­fered from stress­ful “neg­a­tive rela­tion­ships” accu­mu­lat­ed more bel­ly fat over 15 years than those who did not. To deter­mine the con­cept of “neg­a­tive,” vol­un­teers were asked how often friends and fam­i­ly mem­bers made unfair demands, crit­i­cized them, let them down, or sim­ply got on their nerves.

Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have found a link between poor social con­nec­tions and obe­si­ty, but these were most­ly short-term stud­ies, explains lead author Cia­r­ri Ker­shaw, a sci­en­tist at North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty in Illi­nois. Rela­tion­ships may dete­ri­o­rate because a per­son is obese, not the oth­er way around. But Ker­shaw’s research team tracked peo­ple over many years, allow­ing for a bet­ter under­stand­ing of cause and effect.

Click and watch

Fat becomes dangerous

In the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Epi­demi­ol­o­gy, researchers from North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty report that while every­one gains weight as they age, the waist­lines of peo­ple with stress­ful rela­tion­ships are gen­er­al­ly slight­ly larg­er. Doc­tors say fat stored around the waist pos­es the great­est threat to the heart and increas­es the risk of dia­betes.

Of course, tense rela­tion­ships can cause stress, which caus­es you to seek com­fort in junk food and alco­hol, which only adds calo­ries. But stress can also affect your metab­o­lism, says Bri­ana Mezuk, a spe­cial­ist at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Uni­ver­si­ty, trig­ger­ing a response that makes fat more like­ly to set­tle in the bel­ly area. “Stress not only affects our emo­tions, but also our biol­o­gy.”

But there is also good news. Just as neg­a­tive rela­tion­ships make you fat, healthy rela­tion­ships can make you thin. In a new study, peo­ple who report­ed more favor­able rela­tion­ships did not gain as much waist fat as their peers. “Sup­port­ive rela­tion­ships help you man­age stress and keep you from cop­ing mech­a­nisms like overeat­ing,” says Ker­shaw. So if you find your­self in an over­ly tox­ic com­pa­ny, think about whether these peo­ple are worth wast­ing your health on.

Оставьте комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован. Обязательные поля помечены *