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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Jun;22(6):1520-6. doi: 10.1002/oby.20731. Epub 2014 Mar 11.

The interaction of social networks and child obesity prevention program effects: the pathways trial.

Author information

1
The Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research (IPR), University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Social network analysis was used to examine whether peer influence from one's social networks moderates obesity prevention program effects on obesity-related behaviors: healthful and unhealthful.

METHODS:

Participants included 557 children residing in Southern California. The survey assessed health-promoting behaviors (i.e., physical activity at school, physical activity outside of school, and fruit and vegetable intake), as well as unhealthful behaviors (high-calorie, low-nutrient intake and sedentary activity), and peer exposure calculated from social network nominations as indicators of peer influence. Multilevel models were conducted separately on outcomes predicted by program participation, peer exposure, and program participation by peer exposure.

RESULTS:

Results indicated that peer exposure was positively associated with one's own healthful and unhealthful behaviors. Program participation effects were moderated by peer influence, but only when unhealthful peer influence was present. Results suggest that peer influence can diminish or amplify prevention programs

CONCLUSION:

Future interventions should consider peer-led components to promote healthful influence of peers on healthful and unhealthful behaviors, and programs should be mindful that their effects are moderated by social networks.

PMID:
24616241
PMCID:
PMC4037361
DOI:
10.1002/oby.20731
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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