Nick Christakis and James Fowler been pressing the argument that obesity is contagious through social networks in their new book Connected. [Great recent short interview of co-author James Fowler on Colbert, a distillation of this book in the Prospect’s “Let’s All be Friends“, and earlier blog posts here.]
Now Slate magazine has a fascinating 5-part series by Chris Wilson on how the US used social networks to capture Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Who was “ground zero” in the capture, one degree of separation from Saddam? His bodyguard, known by the Allies as the “fat man.”
So the conclusion from Christakis is not only do your fat friends make you overweight (although Slate doesn’t chalk up Saddam’s chubbiness to his bodyguard), but now that overweight friends can also get you assassinated?