Send to

Choose Destination
Obes Med. 2018 Sep;11:25-30. doi: 10.1016/j.obmed.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 30.

Social network body size is associated with body size norms of South Asian adults.

Author information

Feinberg School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Northwestern University, 750 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States.
Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, 420 E Superior, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States.
Department of Medicine and Public Health Sciences and the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, University of Chicago, 5837 S. Maryland Ave, Chicago, IL, 60637, United States.
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 1545 Divisadero, San Francisco, CA, 94115, United States.
Division of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, United States.



To examine the association between social network body size and body size norms in South Asian adults.


Participants (n = 766) from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) study (2014-2018) provided detailed information about their five closest network members. Participants' perceptions of their network members' body sizes, their own body size (self-body size), and a healthy body size for men and women (body size norms) were assessed using the Stunkard 9-figure scale. Adjusted hierarchical linear regression models were used to examine associations between the average body size of network members and perceived body size norms.


Participants' average age was 59.1 years (SD = 9.2) and 44.1% were women. Participants reported an average network body size of 4.0 (SD = 1.1). The average body size norm for male and female Stunkard images was 3.6 (SD = 1.0) and 3.4 (SD = 0.8), respectively. Social network body size was positively associated with increasing body size norms (β-coefficient = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.26, 0.36), independent of self-body size.


Social networks may influence body size norms in South Asian adults. Long-term follow up of the MASALA cohort will determine if social network body size and body size norms are associated with weight- control behaviors and weight change.


Body size norms; Cardiovascular risk; Obesity; Social network influence; South Asian American

[Available on 2019-09-01]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center