Navigation Links
Family, friends, social ties influence weight status in young adults

PROVIDENCE, RI Does obesity tend to "cluster" among young adults? And if so, what impact does it have on both their weight and weight-related behaviors? That's what researchers from The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center set out to answer to better understand how social influences affect both weight status and weight loss intentions in this difficult-to-reach age group.

According to the study, published online by the journal Obesity, overweight and obese young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were more likely to have overweight romantic partners and best friends and also had more overweight casual friends and family members compared to normal weight peers. Also, overweight and obese young adults who reported having social contacts trying to lose weight had greater weight loss intentions.

Why is this an important issue? Forty percent of young adults age 18-25 are considered overweight or obese, and young adults experience the highest rate of weight gain per year typically one to two pounds of any age group. While previous research has consistently demonstrated the powerful impact of social influence on health behaviors, especially for younger individuals, no previous study has examined whether social ties influence weight status and weight loss intentions among young adults.

Lead author Tricia Leahey, PhD, a researcher with The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, also points out that young adults are less likely to participate in behavioral weight loss interventions, and when they do, they tend to lose less weight than older adults. "Identifying the factors that influence both weight status and weight control in this high-risk age group can help us develop appealing and effective obesity treatment and prevention programs for this population," she said.

The study included 288 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25; 151 individuals were of normal weight, while 137 were considered overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater). The majority of participants were female and Caucasian. All participants completed questionnaires to determine their weight and height, number of overweight social contacts (including best friends, romantic partners, casual friends, relatives and colleagues/classmates) and perceived social norms for obesity and obesity-related behaviors.

Overweight and obese study participants completed additional questionnaires to assess how many of their overweight social contacts were currently trying to lose weight, perceived social norms for weight loss (such as how frequently social contacts encouraged them to lose weight or whether the people closest to them would approve if they were to lose weight), and intentions to lose weight within the next three months.

Compared to normal weight young adults, those who were overweight or obese were more likely to have an overweight romantic partner (25 percent vs. 14 percent) and an overweight best friend (24 percent vs. 14 percent). "Our data suggests that obesity 'clusters' in this population. But interestingly, social norms for obesity did not differ between the two groups and did not account for the clustering," said Leahey. "Both groups reported similarly low levels of social acceptability for being overweight, eating unhealthy foods and being inactive."

The study also showed overweight and obese young adults who had more social contacts trying to lose weight were more likely to want to lose weight themselves. Social norms for weight loss, such as encouragement and approval from social contacts, account for this association, researchers say.


Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes

Related medicine news :

1. Autism May Not Affect Every Family, But Every Family Can Affect Autism
2. Progress against child deaths will lag until family, community care prioritized
3. Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
4. Friends, family detect early Alzheimers signs better than traditional tests
5. Social Anxiety and Panic - Alternative Treatment to Drugs and Therapy
6. Alzheimers Association Applauds Social Security Administration for Adding Early-Onset Alzheimers to Its Compassionate Allowances Initiative
7. Patients with Lethal Lung Disease Finally Receive Recognition by Social Security Administration
8. Alzheimers Foundation of America Applauds Social Security for Speeding Disability Benefits for Early-Onset Alzheimers Disease
9. BusinessCard2 Wins Social Business Innovation Award
10. Greenwala and PETCO Announce Healthy Living, Healthy Pet Social Media Campaign
11. Census Bureau News -- 2007 Economic Census: Health Care and Social Assistance Geographic Area Series (NAICS 62)
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... Carolina (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... of a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The ... centuries. , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to ... Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to ... fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Beach, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... UCLA with Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of ... Diego and returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article ... are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more ... these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to ... came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... --  Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: PULM ), ... today that it was added to the Russell Microcap ... set of U.S. and global equity indexes on June ... for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer Robert Clarke ... in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical needs, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  MedSource announced today that it has selected ... of choice.  This latest decision demonstrates MedSource,s commitment ... clients by offering a state-of-the-art electronic data capture ... as the EDC platform of choice in exchange ... has long been a preferred EDC platform by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), Functionality ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their ... global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach USD ... in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: