A number of recent studies have provided evidence suggesting that increases in body weight may spread via social networks. The mechanism(s) by which this might occur have become the subject of much speculation, but to date little direct evidence has been available. We provide evidence for one such mechanism: economic insecurity. Using a sample of working-age men from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we show that cohabitation with working (but not non-working) adults appears to be protective against weight gain. We address the potential endogeneity of the independent variable by employing instrumental variables in our regression analysis
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