Obesity-Related Behaviors of Korean Female Adolescents in Their Classroom-Based Peer Networks

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 4:40 PM

Sophia Chung, PhD, MSN, RN
University of Ulsan, Ulsan, South Korea

Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study is to examine obesity-related behaviors of female Korean adolescents within a classroom-based peer network

Design: A complete social network analysis approach was used. Demographic and behavioral data, including physical activity and eating habits, were obtained from 104 female Korean adolescents aged 16 to 18 from three classrooms in a girls-only high school in Korea. After excluding incomplete answers, network data from 98 adolescents were used for network analysis.

Method: Physical activity of adolescents was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaires; and the Adolescent Food Habits Checklist for eating habits. Adolescents’ peer-network data were collected by friendship nomination. Using descriptive statistics, the characteristics of the adolescents, the level of physical activities and the eating habits were provided. A sociogram, a graphic display consisting of nodes and lines, was created to represent peer networks in the classroom.

Finding: Female adolescents mentioned fewer friends among their nominated peer networks in the classrooms when they were asked about physical activity during or after school, compared to the number of friends who had lunch or snack together. Sociogram, created based on the network data relating to eating, indicated that an adolescent was connected to at least one of the peers in the classroom. Several students functioning as bridges between networks were found in each classroom.

Conclusion: For the events relateing to eating, all female adolescents were connected within their classroom-based peer networks; while fewer networks were found for physical activity.  

Clinical relevance: Involvement of peers or cliques for intervention would be effective to promote healthier eating habits of female adolescents in Korea. For improvement of the level of physical activity, a classroom-based network approach among female adolescents might be less helpful.