Neighborhood and Social Networks Influences

Neighborhood and Social Networks Influences

Social networks influence health behaviors and outcomes. This is an external aspect that influences how human beings behave. Social networks either initiate or restrain health behaviors and outcomes. (Bharmal, Derose, Felician, & Weden, 2015) People belonging to a particular social network or neighborhood tend to have similar healthy behaviors, and the results of these behaviors are similar. A study carried out showed that there were obese persons in the clusters.

Behavior is initiated and reinforced if several people who are close to a person engaged in the same behavior (Christakis, & Fowler, 2007). The neighborhoods and social networks act as comfort for both those who aspire to start behavior and those who require to reinforce it. If for example in certain neighborhood children consume junk foods a lot then it means that the majority of the children will embrace this behavior because it may seem like a norm. The outcome of this behavior will be an increased number of obese children. On the other hand, if all children in the neighborhood do not consume junk food, then the majority of the children will develop a dislike for this type of foods.

Behavior is learned so it can easily be unlearned. Adults are also influenced by social networks and neighborhoods since if one hangs around people who behave in a particular manner, then there is no doubt that they will copy the behavior. Hanging around people who are alcohol addicts, for example, makes a person embrace the habit. Such influence has an impact on the health of a specific population. This impact is however not always negative because if a neighborhood or a social network embraces healthy behaviors, then the outcomes will be positive. If for example in a neighborhood there are less or no people who are addicted to drugs then it means that the health of the population will be better.


Bharmal, N., Derose, K. P., Felician, M., & Weden, M. M. (2015). Understanding the upstream social determinants of health. California: RAND.

Christakis, N. A., & Fowler, J. H. (2007). The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. New England journal of medicine357(4), 370-379.