Our objective was to characterize the relationship between public housing residents’ diet/exercise habits with similar behaviors among their social network. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of randomly selected households in Baltimore, Maryland, from August 2014 to August 2015. Adult heads of household completed questions on diet, exercise, and perceived habits among network members. Our dependent variables were high added sugar intake (≥39.9 teaspoons/day), high fruit/vegetable intake (≥6.1 servings/day), and being physically active (≥moderately activity). Our network exposures were proportion of members perceived to daily consume (1) sugar-sweetened beverages, (2) sweets, (3) fruits, and (4) vegetables, as well as to weekly exercise (1) vigorously or (2) moderately. We used multivariate logistic regression to examine associations between habits with relevant network exposures. Our sample included 266 adults with mean age of 44.5 years, 86.1% women and 95.5% African American. We found a statistically significant association between study participants’ high daily intake of added sugar with perceived network exposure to daily sugar-sweetened beverages (odds ratio [OR] = 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.02, 1.20]) and daily sweets (OR = 1.10, 95% CI [1.02, 1.20]). Greater network exposure to weekly vigorous exercise was significantly associated with personally being physically active (OR = 1.15, 95% CI [1.04, 1.28]), but not network exposure to weekly moderate exercise. Among public housing residents, associations exist between individuals’ and perceived networks’ lifestyle habits of high added sugar foods consumption and vigorous exercise, which may hold promise for future social network interventions.
- health behavior
- public housing
- social influence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health