Do Your Friends Make You Fat?

Two worlds collide in the cover story for this Sunday’s New York Times magazine: health and social networks. The Times looks at a controversial study which came out last year suggesting that good health is a product of being near other healthy people. If your friend, or even your friend’s friend is obese, you are 57 percent more likely to be obese, public-health researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have found. Critics say that they are misreading their data. Either way, writer Clive Thompson concludes, “To look at society as a social network—instead of a collection of individuals—can lead to some thorny conclusions.”