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Soc Sci Med. 2011 Nov;73(9):1365-70. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.08.020. Epub 2011 Sep 10.

How does network structure affect partnerships for promoting physical activity? Evidence from Brazil and Colombia.

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Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


The objective of this study was to describe the network structure and factors associated with collaboration in two networks that promote physical activity (PA) in Brazil and Colombia. Organizations that focus on studying and promoting PA in Brazil (35) and Colombia (53) were identified using a modified one-step reputational snowball sampling process. Participants completed an on-line survey between December 2008 and March 2009 for the Brazil network, and between April and June 2009 for the Colombia network. Network stochastic modeling was used to investigate the likelihood of reported inter-organizational collaboration. While structural features of networks were significant predictors of collaboration within each network, the coefficients and other network characteristics differed. Brazil's PA network was decentralized with a larger number of shared partnerships. Colombia's PA network was centralized and collaboration was influenced by perceived importance of peer organizations. On average, organizations in the PA network of Colombia reported facing more barriers (1.5 vs. 2.5 barriers) for collaboration. Future studies should focus on how these different network structures affect the implementation and uptake of evidence-based PA interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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