Predicting Health

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Jessica Sieff | June 18, 2019

Wearable fitness trackers have made it all too easy for us to make assumptions about our health. We may look to our heart rate to determine whether we really felt the stress of that presentation at work this morning, or think ourselves healthier based on the number of steps we’ve taken by the end of the day.

But to get a better reading on your overall health and wellness, you’d be better off looking at the strength and structure of your circle of friends, according to a new study in the Public Library of Science journal, PLOS One.

While previous studies have shown how beliefs, opinions and attitudes spread throughout our social networks, researchers at the University of Notre Dame were interested in what the structure of social networks says about the state of health, happiness and stress.

Nitesh ChawlaNitesh Chawla“We were interested in the topology of the social network — what does my position within my social network predict about my health and well-being?” said Nitesh V. Chawla, Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications and a lead author of the study. “What we found was the social network structure provides a significant improvement in predictability of wellness states of an individual over just using the data derived from wearables, like the number of steps or heart rate.”

Read more here. 

 by Daily Domer Staff