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J Obes. 2013;2013:480630. doi: 10.1155/2013/480630. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

Examining social influence on participation and outcomes among a network of behavioral weight-loss intervention enrollees.

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  • 1Division of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA. mistlc@uab.edu

Abstract

Research suggests that social networks, social support, and social influence are associated with weight trajectories among treatment- and non-treatment-seeking individuals. This study examined the impact of having a social contact who participated in the same group behavioral weight-control intervention in the absence of specific social support training on women engaged in a weight-loss program. Participants (n = 92; 100% female; 54% black; mean age: 46 ± 10 years; mean BMI: 38 ± 6) were grouped based upon whether or not they reported a social contact enrolled previously/concurrently in our behavioral weight-control studies. Primary outcomes were 6-month weight change and treatment adherence (session attendance and self-monitoring). Half of the participants (53%) indicated that they had a social contact; black women were more likely to report a social contact than white women (67.3% versus 39.5%; P < 0.01). Among participants with a social contact, 67% reported at least one contact as instrumental in the decision to enroll in the program. Those with a contact lost more weight (5.9 versus 3.7 kg; P = 0.04), attended more group sessions (74% versus 54%; P < 0.01), and submitted more self-monitoring journals (69% versus 54%; P = 0.01) than those without a contact. Participants' weight change was inversely associated with social contacts' weight change (P = 0.04). There was no association between participant and contact's group attendance or self-monitoring. Social networks may be a promising vehicle for recruiting and engaging women in a behavioral weight-loss program, particularly black women. The role of a natural social contact deserves further investigation.

PMID:
23840944
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3690255
Free PMC Article
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