New York, Aug 17 (IANS) People who are trying to shed pounds are more likely to lose weight if they include thinner people in their social lives, according to a study.

Ironically, people who want to lose weight are more likely to experience weight discrimination and feel more comfortable with people whose body mass is similar.

The findings, published in the journal Obesity, were based on an analysis of 9,335 people aged between 18 to 65 years and tracked the participants' self-reported social networking changes and body mass outcomes for a year.

Participants identified the four adults with whom they spent free time most frequently and rated each contact's body mass relative to their own.

"For the study, we relied on how people perceived those in their network rather than actual weight measurements," said Matthew Andersson, Assistant Professor, Baylor University, Texas.

Participants were then asked whether they wanted to lose, maintain or increase weight and assessed how often they interacted with those they identified as frequent contacts, whether in person or by phone, email, texting or social media.

"Frequency of contact played a major role. With less than 100 interactions with an individual during a year, changes in weight were linked to a fraction of a pound. But as interactions became more, weight differences became more substantial," added Andersson.