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You are what your friends eat: systematic review of social network analyses of young people's eating behaviours and bodyweight

Fletcher, Adam, Bonell, Chris and Sorhaindo, Annik 2011. You are what your friends eat: systematic review of social network analyses of young people's eating behaviours and bodyweight. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 65 (6) , pp. 548-555. 10.1136/jech.2010.113936

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Abstract

Background: This review synthesises evidence regarding associations between young people's social networks and their eating behaviours/bodyweight, and also explores how these vary according to the setting and sample characteristics. Methods: A systematic review of cross-sectional and longitudinal observational studies examining the association between measures of young people's social networks based on sociometric data and eating behaviours (including calorific intake) and/or bodyweight. Results: There is consistent evidence that school friends are significantly similar in terms of their body mass index, and friends with the highest body mass index appear to be most similar. Overweight youth are also less likely to be popular and more likely to be socially isolated at school. Frequency of fast food consumption has also been found to cluster within groups of boys, as have body image concerns, dieting and eating disorders among girls. Conclusion: School friendships may be critical in shaping young people's eating behaviours and bodyweight and/or vice versa, and suggests the potential of social-network-based health promotion interventions in schools. Further longitudinal research is needed to examine the processes via which this clustering occurs, how it varies according to school context, and the effects of non-school networks.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Publisher: BMJ Publishing
ISSN: 0143-005x
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 01:58
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/53146

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