NEWCASTLE, England, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- An individual's concept of acceptable weight is formed during childhood and is not significantly influenced by later social networks, British researchers say.
Because of this, obesity prevention strategies should be implemented in early childhood and at the household level if they are to be effective, researchers at Newcastle University said.
Writing in the journal Obesity, researcher Heather Brown and her colleagues said they investigated the effects of time-constant factors such as genetics and upbringing, and compared them to changeable factors like friends and opportunities for exercise on the development of social norms regarding weight in children.
In studying body mass data from 236 adolescent siblings living together and 838 adult siblings living apart, the researchers said, they found that time-constant factors significantly influenced both groups but only the adolescent group was influenced by changeable factors.
Their findings suggest previous studies may have overestimated the effect of social networks on acceptable weight perception, the researchers said.