The government of the United Kingdom is spending heavily on a program designed to help its citizens lose weight. It has allocated 70 million British pounds to fund personal fitness coaches and weight management courses. It is also considering the possibility of financial incentives aimed at motivating people to eat right and get more exercise. About two-thirds of adult Britons are overweight or obese.
A Harvard University study looked at more than 12,000 people over three decades and determined that “obesity appears to spread through social ties.” It suggested that friends affect each other’s perception of weight. The Institute’s Alan Hall said the study points to a spreading process: a type of social contagion that spreads through the network. This finding is reminiscent of herding in financial markets, in which investors take their cues from the people around them.
To hear more of Hall’s socionomic perspective on this study, listen to “Harvard Medical School and the New England Journal of Medicine Weigh in on the Obesity Crisis–It’s a Virus!.”
If you look closely, you can see patterns in social mood that help you predict social trends. Learn more with the Socionomics Premier Membership.