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Peer clustering of exercise and eating behaviours among young adults in Sweden: a cross-sectional study of egocentric network data

Barclay, Kieron and Edling, Christofer and Rydgren, Jens (2013) Peer clustering of exercise and eating behaviours among young adults in Sweden: a cross-sectional study of egocentric network data. BMC Public Health, 13 (1). p. 784. ISSN 1471-2458

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Identification Number: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-784

Abstract

Background Research suggests that the growing prevalence of obesity may be related to the influence of the health behaviours of peers. We look at clustering of exercise and eating behaviours amongst a previously unstudied group, young adults in Sweden. Previous research has mainly been conducted in the United States and Britain, countries that have relatively high rates of obesity. Methods Using ego-alter dyads from the egocentric network data as the unit of analysis, we conduct logistic regressions to investigate the association between ego and alter exercise and eating behaviours. Results Respondents have a significantly greater probability of engaging in regular exercise and eating healthily if a nominated peer also does so. Furthermore, the degree to which this behavior is shared is modulated by the strength of the relationship between the two individuals, with a greater probability of engaging in these behaviours observed when the relationship with the nominated peer is strong relative to when the relationship is weak. However, we find that ego-alter homogeneity in terms of gender and migration status was not associated with a significantly greater probability of behaving in a similar manner to a nominated peer. Furthermore, the status of the nominated peer as a relative or not did not impact the probability that the ego would engage in similar health behaviours to that alter. Conclusions We observe strong associations between ego and alter health behaviours for young adults, consistent with previous research. Although we cannot draw causal inferences, these results suggest that the health behaviours of an individual’s peers may play a role in shaping their own health behaviours.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors © CC BY 2.0
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Research centres and groups > ALPHA (Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis)
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 11:27
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2015 10:33
Projects: 263422
Funders: European Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/62067

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