Skip to main content



Diffusion in Networks and Obesity

In his TED Talk, Nicholas Christakis focused on how social networks affect the behaviors and choices of individuals up to 3 degrees away from each other, and specifically focused on how obesity can spread through social networks similar to an epidemic. The causes of this phenomena Christakis listed were that people of similar backgrounds with similar ideas often associate more with each other, that people can directly affect the choices of others with their choices, and that segments of the population can undergo changes together due to external stimuli.

I thought this was particularly interesting when looking at the population of Cornell and how it seems that only a very small percentage of students are obese. I think that all three of Christakis’ causes apply here, as more educated students understand the health risks associated with obesity, that students try to make healthy choices because of this knowledge, and that the external stimuli of our spread out and hilly campus helps students stay in shape. This also relates back to our textbook’s explanation of this phenomena, with direct benefit effects and informational effects. Cornell students are generally educated enough to understand the health risks associated with obesity, so they can see the direct benefit of imitating their friends who eat healthy, work out, and try to stay fit. Additionally, students are affected by informational affects, with the social norm¬†at Cornell that most students are relatively fit, so students keep this norm going.

Source, Nicholas Christakis TED Talk:

Comments

Leave a Reply

Blogging Calendar

October 2016
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Archives