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Oct 02, 2019

According to research from the University of Notre Dame, your circle of friends can be predictive of your health. The strength and structure of your friendship groups can actually determine your overall health and wellness.[1]
 

The study used Fitbits to capture health behaviour data – such as steps, sleep, heart rate and activity level – from participants, who also completed surveys and self-assessments about their feelings of stress, happiness and positivity. Researchers then analysed the data, alongside an individual’s social network characteristics including connectivity, social balance, reciprocity and closeness within the social network.
 

Researchers found that social network structure provided significant improvement in predicting one’s health and well-being compared to just looking at health behaviour data from the Fitbit alone.
 

The findings could provide useful insight to employers who look to wearable fitness devices to incentivise employees to improve their health. Using a wearable device to monitor their health in the hopes that their overall well-being improves may not be enough to see meaningful results. Those employers, Nitesh V. Chawla said, would benefit from encouraging employees to build a platform to post and share their experiences with each other as social network structure helps complete the picture of health and well-being.
 
 
[1] Your circle of friends is more predictive of your health, study finds. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190617110533.htm

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