As shown in the above bar graph Among non-Hispanic white adults, more than 1 in 3 Among non-Hispanic black adults, almost half Among Hispanic adults, about 1 in 2
This holds true for human health and body mass, too. The heavier our close friends and family, the heavier we are likely to be. This correlation, described in by a team that analyzed data from the longitudinal Framingham Heart Study, is well established.
But just how this transpires—whether via shared norms, common behavior or just similar environments—has been the subject of Obesity and social demographics in the us debate. The authors of the study proposed that social norms shared among friends and relatives might be a strong determinant of body mass index BMI.
And a new study, published online May 5 in the American Journal of Public Healthdrills down to see just how these social forces might be at work. The study of more than women—and hundreds of their friends and family members—however, suggests that social attitudes might not be key in determining obesity clusters after all.
She and her colleagues found themselves surprised how small an effect the norms had on a person's BMI. Just one type of social dynamic seemed to play a statistically significant role—and that was only about 20 percent.
But a small effect is not no effect, points out James Fowlera professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Division of Social Sciences, and co-author of the The New England Journal of Medicine paper that described the influence of social ties on obesity rates.
The finding that even 20 percent of weight status can be attributed to social norms suggests that "at least some of what is spreading are ideas about body size.
The influence of friends To try to better understand the ways in which social norms might be influencing social clusters of obesity, Brewis and her colleagues interviewed Arizona women aged 18 to 45—and of their close social ties, including friends, spouses, family members, coworkers and others—about their attitudes toward body size.
All subjects were questioned about their ideal size, their preference for being non-obese relative to other conditions, such as being an alcoholic or blindand how much stigma they associated with a person's being overweight or obese.
The subjects' answers correlated with their BMI by design, half of the women were overweight or obese and with the BMI and answers given by their social ties. Brewis and her team then tested the data against a framework of three possible pathways that might help explain why people and those they are close to have similar body sizes.
The frameworks held up in the analysis: The first describes the case in which social norms between people converge "and that makes you both behave the same way," Brewis explains; the second, occurs when two people might have different social norms, but a friend's social norms "shape [the other's] behavior even if they don't internalize them"; and the third possibility—"it's not really due to the relationship at all," but rather something else that is related to body size, such as simply frequently seeing friends who are overweight.
Given the way the study was designed, however, it is quite possible that the effect of social norms is "even higher" than 20 percent, Fowler says.
The findings are by no means the final word on the influence of social norms, says Ross Hammonddirector of the Center on Social Dynamics and Policy at The Brookings Institution. Brewis says that her group hopes to start studying the role of social norms in different countries as well, such as in India and Paraguay.
The new study underscores just "how difficult social norms are to measure," says Hammond, who wrote a review paper on social influence and obesity that was published last year. If socially gleaned attitudes are not the driving force spreading obesity among social circles, what is?
Published: Mon, 09 Oct Introduction. Obesity is not a new term in America. As a matter of fact this is a health condition that has become common to the American citizens and the rest of the world. Social Media Tools; Get Email Updates. To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address: Enter Email Address What's this? The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $ billion in US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1, higher than those of normal weight. Lifestyle, health knowledge, social policies, and neighborhood characteristics have been hypothesized as the underlying factors of the obesity epidemic within and outside of the United States. Lifestyle variables have long been identified as contributing factors (e.g., Huffman and Rizov ).
And that is exactly where Brewis is hoping to look next. In this situation, people often pause to glance around the table and see if anyone is going to ask for it; if no one else asks for the menu, an individual will often pass as well, whereas if one person does ask for the menu, others will be more likely to order dessert.
Fowler and his colleagues are looking into this behavioral side, he says, trying to figure out, "If I start eating more fatty foods, do you start eating more fatty foods? In addition to social attitudes and socially determined behaviors, other factors might be at work influencing people in the same social networks.
The environment —from the prevalence of fast food restaurants to the availability of good walking trails—has been shown to play a large role in people's health and BMI. But in their analysis of the Framingham data, Fowler says, his team found that "it's true that your environment has an impact on you, but it doesn't seem to be the reason" for your body weight.
Having an obese neighbor did not make a person more likely to be obese, but having a friend or relative who was—even if that person lived hundreds of miles away—did. Because a large portion of the social relations in the study were listed as family members, genetics could be playing a role, too.
And Brewis notes that, "in terms of moving this research forward, that's certainly something to think about.To investigate the effects of lifestyles, demographics, and dietary behavior on overweight and obesity. We developed a three-regime switching regression model to examine the effects of lifestyle, dietary behavior, and sociodemographic factors on body mass index (BMI) by weight category and.
An Epidemic of Obesity: U.S. Obesity Trends In , obese adults made up less than 15 percent of the population in most U.S. states. By , 36 states had obesity rates of 25 percent or higher, and 12 of those had obesity rates of 30 percent or higher.
The annual medical costs associated with obesity in the United States range from $ billion to nearly $ billion per year. Moreover, each obese worker costs its employer approximately $ per year.
Obesity has severe long-term economic and social costs with implications on a personal health, including cholesterol, blood pressure, heart.
Social Media Tools; Get Email Updates. To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address: Enter Email Address What's this? The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $ billion in US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1, higher than those of normal weight.
Adult Obesity in the United States Updated September According to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35% in seven states, 30% in 29 states and 25% in 48 states. This content describes the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States.
Defining Overweight and Obesity. A person whose weight is higher than what is considered as a normal weight adjusted for height is described as being overweight or having obesity. 1 Fast Facts.