Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

H. Luke Shaefer and colleagues argue for a universal child allowance

Hindustan Times points out high value of H-1B visas for US innovation, welfare, and tech firm profits

Novak, Geronimus, Martinez-Cardoso: Threat of deportation harmful to immigrants' health

More News


Heather Ann Thompson wins Pulitzer Prize for book on Attica uprising

Lam explores dimensions of the projected 4 billion increase in world population before 2100

ISR's Nick Prieur wins UMOR award for exceptional contribution to U-M's research mission

How effectively can these nations handle outside investments in health R&D?

More Highlights

Collective efficacy and obesity: The potential influence of social factors on health

Publication Abstract

Cohen, D.A., B.K. Finch, A. Bower, and Narayan Sastry. 2006. "Collective efficacy and obesity: The potential influence of social factors on health." Social Science and Medicine, 62(3): 769-778.

Social determinants have been identified as a fundamental cause of health and disease in most industrialized countries. However, much less is known about which characteristics of communities may lead to disparities in health outcomes. Collective efficacy-the willingness of community members to look out for each other and intervene when trouble arises-is a social factor shown to be associated with outcomes related to obesity, including premature mortality and cardiovascular disease. The objective of this study is to determine whether neighborhood collective efficacy is associated with individual measures of body mass index (BMI) in adolescents. We use a multi-level, cross-sectional survey in Los Angeles County, involving 807 adolescents in 684 households in 65 neighborhoods in addition to a sample of 3000 adult respondents. The main outcomes measures are BMI, at risk of overweight, and overweight status. Using a two-level model, we find significant relationships between collective efficacy and all three outcomes, net of levels of neighborhood disadvantage. The associations between BMI and collective efficacy could potentially be explained by several factors, including a metabolic pathway, neighborhood differences in the physical and social environments, or a combination of these two. If group-level collective efficacy is indeed important in the regulation of individual-level net energy balance, it suggests that future interventions to control weight by addressing the social environment at the community level may be promising.

DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.06.033 (Full Text)

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next