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Our Research Catalogue contains grants and outputs data up to the end of April 2014. Records will no longer be updated after this date.

Managing social environment for reducing obesity in middle-aged and older adults

  • Start date: 04 January 2010
  • End date: 03 January 2011

The aim of this interdisciplinary quantitative study is to explore the relationship of social environmental factors, such as social participation and social support, with obesity and weight-related health behaviours (diet and physical activity) in middle-aged (35-50 years) and older (50+) adults.

Social participation refers to taking part in formal and informal groups and associations, cultural and other social and civic activities; whereas social support refers to resources and assistance provided by other persons.

Two large existing longitudinal datasets (Whitehall II and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing) will be statistically analysed. Socio-economic and gender differences as well as differences between non-working and working older adults are investigated.

The proposed study addresses a gap within the research on social determinants of obesity; longitudinal research is needed to provide more robust evidence on the links between social environment, obesity, and weight-related health behaviours. It is possible that lack of social participation, poor social support and negative aspects of close relationships, which often co-occur with economic disadvantage, are amongst the mechanisms through which relative deprivation may influence obesity.

The proposed research aims to make a practical and meaningful contribution to the NHS guidelines in preventing and treating obesity and increasing physical activity.