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Networks And Obesity

October 22, 2007

There is an interesting article in the New England Journal Of Medicine this month in which the authors analyzed data from a long multi-generational health study of over 12,000 people to understand how the network of friends and relations correlates to obesity.  Christakis and Fowler found a number of relationships with increased probablility of shared obesity.

Among their findings,

A person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 57% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6 to 123) if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval. Among pairs of adult siblings, if one sibling became obese, the chance that the other would become obese increased by 40% (95% CI, 21 to 60). If one spouse became obese, the likelihood that the other spouse would become obese increased by 37% (95% CI, 7 to 73).

Click through to read the whole article on the NEJM site (Free).  It is an interesting look at human behavior and a nice example of the power of network analysis.



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