WELLNESS
10/03/2014 05:01 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2014

A Surprising Way Your Social Life Could Be Affecting Your Health

Besides being enjoyable, spending time with the people you love comes with a number of health benefits, including reduced stress, increased longevity, and improved overall well-being. But your social life could also be affecting your physical health in a way that you may not expect.

Psychologist Susan Pinker, author ofThe Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier And Smarter, joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressey-Tehrani to discuss how our social habits can affect our waistlines.

"Eating habits are contagious... when you're with somebody else, and you're eating with somebody else, women especially tend to match their eating to who they're with," said Pinker. "With men, the effect is there but it's not as strong. So essentially if women are with somebody who's enjoying their food and eating a lot, they'll do the same."

If the people who are close to us put on weight, we're more likely to put on weight too. By the same token, Pinker explained, social weight loss programs like Weight Watchers can be highly effective.

"It's the people around us that help us control our eating," said Pinker.

Watch the clip above, and catch the full conversation on HuffPost Live.

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