You are more likely to catch flu from an overweight person than from someone who has normal body weight, stated a new study.

This is because obese people tend to harbor the virus for longer durations, and they risk spreading the bug for up to twice as long as those of a normal weight, the research conducted by the University of Michigan revealed.

Obesity affects the body’s immune response system and it causes inflammation, which may allow flu virus to stay longer.

The study involved 1,800 people and it found that obese adults – those with a body mass index of 30 or more – were infectious with influenza A virus for 42 per cent longer than those who were regular sized.

“This is the first real evidence that obesity might impact more than just disease severity. It might directly impact transmission as well,” Dr Aubree Gordon from the University of Michigan School of Public Health was quoted as saying by Mail Online.

The study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, states: “Obesity may play an important role in influenza transmission, especially as the prevalence of obesity rises, and may be an important target for intervention and prevention strategies.”

In Britain, obesity is a serious problem.

According to a study conducted by the University College London and pharmaceutical company Novo Nordish, almost one in three British adults are now estimated to be obese.

If necessary steps aren’t taken, about half of Britons will be obese by 2045, the study claims.