Investigating Obesity Related Behaviours in Friendship Networks Among the Youth: A Systemised Review

Authors: Noor Alsayed, Tillal Eldabi, Habin Lee
Published in the International Journal of Food, Nutrition and Public Health (IJFNPH), Vol. 9, No. 2, 2017 (pp.093–101)

Friendships are critical in shaping young people’s obesity related behaviour. There are extensive research investigating friendship influences on diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
These research have been found friendship influence on individual’s health behaviours; however, current evidence on the specific role of friendship networks on obesity related behaviours are inconclusive. The purpose of this review is to profile the existing literature in an attempt to identify the associations between friendship networks and obesity related behaviours among adolescents. A systemised review of the literature was undertaken after a total of fifteen articles were selected for inclusion. The selected publications assessed the associations between friendship networks and obesity related behaviours among youths. There is consistent evidence that friends are similar in physical activity; evidence on diet and sedentary behaviour is mixed and limited. Friendship network characteristics seem to be associated with obesity related behaviours. Popularity (receiving ties) is likely to be associated with diet, network size, and the proportion of active friends tends to be associated with physical activity. Finally, network density is associated with sedentary behaviour.

Summarized by: Fadwa Dafallah Alhady

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