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New Poll Announces Link Between Friends and Family Influence and a Healthy Lifestyle

SILVER SPRING, Md. and MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- A USA TODAY/ Discovery Health/Gallup Poll released today states that in addition to diet and exercise, friends and family also influence an individual's ability to lose weight and maintain health lifestyle habits.

Key findings of the Discovery Health/USA TODAY/Gallup poll include:

-- Nearly one in four Americans (24%) believe that their friends and families have been a hindrance in their attempts to lose weight

-- Over one in three (34%) report that friends or family have teased about their food, urged them to cheat on diets, or tried to talk them out of exercising.

-- Only 34% of those with annual household income under $30K reported partnering with someone in dieting, compared to 55% of those with incomes $30K-$74.9K, and 63% of those with incomes $75K and above.

-- 64% of those with at least some college reported having partnered with someone in exercising, vs. only 53% of those with no college.

-- The majority of individuals (57%) are interested in partnering with a friend or family member on a weight-loss challenge program

USA TODAY is a leading source of information on diet, fitness and weight-control, reporting more than 100 cutting-edge news stories a year on these subjects. The newspaper's annual weight-loss challenge was started in 2004 to offer nutrition and fitness guidance in the newspaper and at Each year, the series features dramatic stories of USA TODAY readers who have successfully lost weight and kept it off. The series also offers advice from the nation's top weight-loss experts and healthful menus and recipes, specifically designed for USA TODAY. Please visit for more information.

The role of personal relationships in weight loss is explored in Discovery Health's NATIONAL BODY CHALLENGE: TWINS EDITION, premiering tonight and airing for four consecutive nights at 8 PM ET/PT. In these all-new television specials, four sets of overweight twins work together to fight temptation and bad habits in an attempt to lose weight by adopting healthier lifestyles. The close relationships shared by twins makes them especially relevant examples of the power of a support system in weight loss. The television special is part of Discovery Health's fifth annual NATIONAL BODY CHALLENGE, the network's anti-obesity initiative that provides support --- entirely free of charge --- to participants who are ready to get in shape. A multiplatform weight-loss offering, the NATIONAL BODY CHALLENGE features online advice from experts such as Drs. Mehmet Oz and Pam Peeke, a free eight-week pass to Bally Total Fitness, customizable meal plans and workout regimens, community interaction tools, and much more. To register for the Challenge at no cost, please visit today.


USA TODAY is the nation's top-selling newspaper. It is published via satellite at 34 locations in the USA and at four sites abroad. With a total average daily circulation of 2.3 million, USA TODAY is available worldwide. USA TODAY is published by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI.) The USA TODAY brand also includes:, an award-winning news and information Web site that is updated 24 hours per day; USA TODAY Sports Weekly, a magazine for enthusiasts of college and professional football and baseball; USA TODAY Mobile, offering up-to-the minute news and information on a variety of mobile platforms and devices; and USA TODAY LIVE, the television arm of the USA TODAY brand that brings the spirit and quality of the newspaper to television.

About Discovery Health:

Discovery Health Media includes the Discovery Health and FitTV television networks and online assets including, as well as its Continuing Medical Education (CME) business and Discovery's first stand-alone VOD service, Discovery Health On-Call. Discovery Health Media Enterprises is part of Discovery Communications, Inc., the number-one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion people in over 170 countries. Through TV and new media, Discovery's 100-plus worldwide networks include Discovery Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, Animal Planet and Discovery Health. DCI is owned by Discovery Holding Co. (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB), Cox Communications Inc., Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, Discovery's founder and chairman. For more information please visit

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