Social Influence and Obesity

Ross A. Hammond


Purpose of review: To review a selection of research published in the last 12 months on the role of social influence in the obesity epidemic.

Recent findings: Recent papers add evidence to previous work linking social network structures and obesity. Social norms, both eating norms and body image norms, are identified as one major source of social influence through networks. Social capital and social stress are additional types of social influence.

Summary: There is increasing evidence that social influence and social network structures are significant factors in obesity. Deeper understanding of the mechanisms of action and dynamics of social influence, and its link with other factors involved in the obesity epidemic, is an important goal for further research.

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