Social networks influence health behavior

Organizations can use social networks to prevent disease and promote general health, according to research conducted at the University of Southern California. USC researchers say that intervention made through social media on such topics as discouraging smoking, promoting physical activity to curb obesity and preventing the spread of STDs is likely to succeed because it passes information by word-of-mouth.

Researchers still are investigating how and why social media is so effective in the realm of public health. Thomas W. Valente, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC said that social networks can help collect data and share information from a business and marketing perspective. "The science of how networks can be used to accelerate behavior change and improve organizational performance is still in its infancy," Valente said. "Research is clearly needed to compare different network interventions to determine which are optimal under what circumstances." Announcement

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