Social networks and future direction for obesity research: A scoping review.


Despite significant efforts to decrease obesity rates, the prevalence of obesity continues to increase in the United States. Obesity risk behaviors including physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and sleep deprivation are intertwined during daily life and are difficult to improve in the current social environment. Studies show that social networks-the thick webs of social relations and interactions-influence various health outcomes, such as HIV risk behaviors, alcohol consumption, smoking, depression, and cardiovascular mortality; however, there is limited information on the influences of social networks on obesity and obesity risk behaviors. Given the complexities of the biobehavioral pathology of obesity and the lack of clear evidence of effectiveness and sustainability of existing interventions that are usually focused on an individual approach, targeting change in an individual's health behaviors or attitude may not take sociocontextual factors into account; there is a pressing need for a new perspective on this problem. In this review, we evaluate the literature on social networks as a potential approach for obesity prevention and treatment (i.e., how social networks affect various health outcomes), present two major social network data analyses (i.e., egocentric and sociometric analysis), and discuss implications and the future direction for obesity research using social networks.

DOI: 10.1016/j.outlook.2014.11.001

Cite this paper

@article{Nam2015SocialNA, title={Social networks and future direction for obesity research: A scoping review.}, author={Soohyun Nam and Nancy S Redeker and Robin Whittemore}, journal={Nursing outlook}, year={2015}, volume={63 3}, pages={299-317} }