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Personal Network Characteristics as Predictors of Change in Obesity Risk Behaviors in Early Adolescence
journal contributionposted on 2019-09-01, 00:00 authored by Jennifer Marks, Kayla de la Haye, Lisa BarnettLisa Barnett, Steven AllenderSteven Allender
The potential for peers to influence obesity risk behavior increases in adolescence, yet there are knowledge gaps of how behaviors are modified in response to peers over time. This study examined how personal friendship network characteristics were associated with obesity-related behaviors from late childhood to early adolescence. Two waves of friendship, physical activity, screen time, and dietary recall data were collected from 11- to 13-year-old students (99% retention) in Australia (n = 308) over a five- to eight-month period. Regression models identified friendship network characteristics that predicted later health behaviors which varied by gender and behavior type, such as the number of friends positively associated with physical activity intensity (males) and screen time (females). The need for considering context to influence behavior change is discussed.