Social Networks, Social Capital and Obesity: A Literature Review

Spencer Moore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Social networks consist of the patterns of relationships existing among a set of actors. Social capital is to be distinguished from social networks in that social capital refers to the resources to which individuals or groups have access through their social networks. Unlike other forms of capital, such as economic, human, or cultural, social capital is not the property of individuals or groups per se but instead emerges in the social networks that individuals or groups maintain. Individuals may access these resources through their own personal networks, or they might have access to a more generalized set of resources from living in an area having dense social connections and a propensity for reciprocity. At the individual or area levels, social capital may provide benefits for the health of individuals through a variety of network mechanisms, such as the provisioning of affective support, access to information, or greater sense of belonging. Studies on social capital and health cover a range of outcomes. For instance, its associations with self-reported health and mental health have found particular prominence in the literature. This may be due in part to the fact that the health-related pathways linking social capital to these are less opaque. Social capital is often seen as contributing to the psychological well-being of individuals through mechanisms related to social integration or the availability of support.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationObesity Prevention
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780123743879
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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