By Nicole Brewer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are many factors that impact our weight or BMI: diet, exercise, genetics.

But, what about geography? A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests fatness may spread through social contagion.

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“We’re social creatures and we tend to do what those around us are doing,” said Sarah Jessen of Philadelphia.

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Researchers found military families assigned to Army bases in counties with higher obesity rates were more likely to be overweight, when compared to their counterparts living in areas with lower rates of obesity.

And the more exposure they had to the community, the stronger the connection.

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“You learn what you live,” said Amy Benton of Philly.

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Matt Reece of Center City added, “You’re a product of your environment.”

Researchers admit their study has limitations. For one thing, geographical proximity doesn’t always dictate our social network. There’s also a question as to whether military families represent American families, at large.

To learn more about the study, CLICK HERE.

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