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The 'contagion' of social networks
The 'contagion' of social networks

The old folk concept that our personal health behaviors rub off on those around us has received a staggering amount of scientific support of late. Over the last few years, study after study has shown that weight gain, drug and alcohol use, even loneliness and depression aren't islands unto themselves but are powerfully contagious — capable of spreading within our social networks just as germs scatter after a sneeze. If your friends are smokers, you tend to light up too, studies show. If they're overweight, then your belt also feels a bit tight. If they're happy, chances are you're smiling too. And on and on. Many public health leaders now believe this growing...

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