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Social Influences on Obesity: Current Knowledge, Emerging Methods, and Directions for Future Research and Practice

Citation

Smith, Natalie R.; Zivich, Paul N.; & Frerichs, Leah (2020). Social Influences on Obesity: Current Knowledge, Emerging Methods, and Directions for Future Research and Practice. Current Nutrition Reports, 9(1), 31-41. PMCID: PMC7033640

Abstract

Purpose of Review: Individuals tend to be socially connected with those of similar weight and obesity status. To inform future research and intervention development, we reviewed recent literature examining social influences on weight with a focus on mechanisms of social influence, populations studied, and emerging analytical methods.
Recent Findings: Social networks appear to influence weight gain and weight loss. It remains unclear what underlying mechanisms (e.g., social norms, social comparison, behavioral modeling) drive this relationship. Stochastic actor-oriented modeling is important method in the field, but other work has leveraged natural experiment or randomized designs to study social influence.
Summary: Future networks and obesity research should examine social influence mechanisms, focus on diverse populations across the life course, and carefully consider how to adequately control for competing factors of social selection and physical environments.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13668-020-00302-8

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2020

Journal Title

Current Nutrition Reports

Author(s)

Smith, Natalie R.
Zivich, Paul N.
Frerichs, Leah

PMCID

PMC7033640