ESPE Abstracts (2018) 89 P-P2-175

Social Networks, Social Support and Weight-Related Outcomes among Adolescents

Marina Ybarraa,b, Jennifer Yub, Lisa Kakinamic, Marie-Ève Mathieud,e, Mélanie Hendersona,e & Tracie Barnetta,b


aResearch Center of Sainte-Justine University Hospital, Montreal, Canada; bArmand-Frappier Institute, Laval, Canada; cConcordia University, Montreal, Canada; dResearch Center of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital, Montreal, Canada; eUniversity of Montreal, Montreal, Canada


Introduction: People’s weight-related behaviors may be influenced by their personal social network (SN), notably via family and friends’ behavioral modelling and motivational social support (SS).

Objective: We examined the cross-sectional relation between social network-based social support (SS) and weight-related outcomes among adolescents ina pilot study within the QUALITY cohort, a longitudinal study investigating the natural history of obesity in youth.

Methods: Participants (egos) completed a social network questionnaire, in which they nominated up to 10 people (alters) with whom they discussed important matters in the past year. Participants reported their own and each alters’ age, sex, body shape, lifestyle behaviors (frequency being active, web surfing, eating healthfully), relationship (family, friend), frequency alter exercises with ego, and frequency alter encourages ego to exercise. We created a motivational SS score based on these two latter items, and a role-modeling SS score based on alters’ body shape and lifestyle behaviors. Scores above the overall median were categorized as supportive. Outcomes were body mass index z-score (zBMI) and accelerometer-measured minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Multiple linear regressions adjusted for age and stratified by sex were conducted.

Results: Forty-five participants were included (29 boys); mean age was 16.4 years, zBMI ranged from −1.2 to 3.9, mean MVPA was 22.4 minutes per day. Participants nominated a mean of 6.6 alters (38% family and 62% friends). The motivational SS score was significantly associated with zBMI, positively in girls (+0.19 zBMI for a 10% increase in the proportion of supportive alters) and negatively in boys (−0.14 zBMI for a 10% increase in the proportion of supportive alters). Motivational SS was not associated with MVPA. Role-modelling SS was not associated with either outcome.

Conclusion: Our study suggests that the relation between perceived motivational SS and weight status differs between adolescent boys and girls. These preliminary findings suggest that leveraging social support to enhance lifestyle interventions nee

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